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Dorset County ASA

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Ponds Forge mothballed for foreseeable future

August 12, 2020   By


Swim England CEO Jane Nickerson has expressed her extreme disappointment at the news that Ponds Forge International Sports Centre will be mothballed for the foreseeable future due to significant issues with the venue, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The announcement that Ponds Forge, home to Swim England national events and other major international competitions over the years, is to remain shut indefinitely is a bitter blow to the swimming, diving and water polo clubs based at the Centre and which will now need to find a new home. For the diving community especially, the situation looks dire. Ponds Forge is one of a very small number of bespoke diving facilities in England and home to the National Junior Diving Championships.

Ponds Forge, however, is not the only diving venue to remain closed. Only eight of the 35 Swim England affiliated diving clubs currently have access to the water. Some pools have reopened their doors since leisure centres were given the green light to do so by the Government on Saturday 25 July. However, a large majority of local authority owned facilities will still remain closed at the beginning of September and beyond. Statistics such as this make for depressing reading and leave many fearful about the future of aquatic sports.

Swim England fought hard publicly for the reopening of pools with its’ campaign to¬†#OpenOurPools¬†and #SaveLeisure and continues to campaign for emergency funding for this vital sector.

Issued 12 August 2020

Revamp at Swim England

August 3, 2020   By


Due to the impact caused by Covid-19, Swim England recently announced that the national governing body would need to review its structure, and which would result in a reduction in team members.

The ongoing development and delivery of Swim England sports remains the remit of the Sport Development Directorate, headed up by Sport Development Director George Wood. The focus of the directorate is member clubs, competitions, coach development, talent programmes and national events for all disciplines. The Directorate will work with the Swim England Regions to ensure a collaborative, consolidated approach as clubs are supported in their return to water and the further development of the sport. The focus will be addressing the key national issues and opportunities affecting our participants and clubs, while supporting the Regions and disciplines with their priorities.

To achieve this, Swim England has introduced a Development Team led by Claire Coleman (Head of Development) with four managers focusing on the following priority areas of Governance (Helen Weeks), Volunteering (Sarah Darragh), Club & Operator Relationships (Andy Jack), and Club Growth (Becky Walker). The team will work closely with the Regions and with the Swim England club network. This means that the nationally employed Club Development Officer and National Development Officer roles will no longer exist, but the Regions will continue to employ their own staff.

Swim England will adopt a multi-disciplinary approach, working closely with the Discipline Leadership Groups to promote and develop each of the aquatic sports. Talent teams are in place for each discipline, working with the Development Team to support the re-emergence of our sports into the water, as well as talent athletes accessing training in home environments. Talent activity will be delivered online and through a new Diploma in Sporting Excellence programme.

Online and digital methods currently being used will continue to ensure guidance, information and assistance reaches as many members as possible. However if clubs have any support needs, queries or questions, contact details are as follows:

Issued 3 August 2020

SWR training diary dates

August 3, 2020   By


All face-to-face training has been suspended for the foreseeable future due to Covid-19, but in the interim Swim England South West Region is endeavouring to run as many courses remotely as possible. Currently available are the following courses and workshops.

Safeguarding and Protecting Children

SWR has been able to finalise some safeguarding workshops to run online, to be delivered on the following dates:

  • 19 September at 11.00am
  • 23 September at 6.30pm
  • 14 October at 6.30pm
  • 17 October at 11.00am
  • 17 October at 3.00pm

Coaches and teachers are reminded that it is crucial for you to hold a current Safeguarding and Protecting Children certificate when working with children and young people. If your certificate has lapsed or about to expire, please book onto a course as soon as you can. Click here to visit our website for details on who to contact and how to book a place/places for your club and your workforce. A free safeguarding basic awareness workshop has also been developed for volunteers to attend. This is not a certified workshop, and does not replace the need to attend a safeguarding workshop if needed. Click here to read more about this workshop.

Time to Listen

Time to Listen training is for a club member who is going to become the Club Welfare Officer, and to attend this training you must first have completed an approved safeguarding course. The SWR is running Time to Listen training on the following dates:

  • 19 August at 6.00pm
  • 12 August at 10.00am
  • 7 October at 6.00pm

Click here to visit  the SWR website for details on who to contact and how to book a place/places for your club and your workforce.

Team Manager Training

A workshop has been arranged for 8 September at 7.00pm Рemail Jackie Hilleard at jackiehilleard@gmail.com with your name, Swim England membership number and contact email address to book your place.

Club Matters Workshops – Club Leadership Teams

The SWR is hosting an online Club Matters Workshop on Monday 14 September from 7.00pm until 9.00pm for Club Chairs (or a designated representative) from Swim England South West clubs. By the end of the workshop club delegates will be able to:

  • Review their leadership club structure
  • Identify the key principles of an excellent leadership team
  • Identify methods on how to achieve an excellent leadership team for your club
  • Develop an action plan to improve their club leadership.

Places are free but do need to be booked in advance and if you would like to attend, email jackiehilleard@gmail.com with the following information:

  1. Name ( first and surname )
  2. The name of your club
  3. Your home postcode
  4. The type of device you will be using (ie, laptop, tablet, other)

Places will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis provided all of the required information is included in your booking email. By booking a place on this workshop you are giving Swim England South West permission to pass your details to Sport Structures (the organisation that runs the workshops) for administration purposes.

Para Swimming Workshops

The SWR is also holding a number of Para-Swimming workshops that will be targeted at either parents and athletes or coaches.

  • Thursday 6 August 11.00am-12.00pm Intro to Classification & Para Pathway (all coaches)¬†Aim ‚Äď Increase coach awareness and understanding of the classification system, process and stages of the para-swimming pathway from development into talent programmes.
  • Thursday 6 August 4.30pm-6.30pm Intro to Physical Literacy (classified athletes & Parents)¬†¬†Aim ‚Äď Increase athlete knowledge on how Physical Literacy is key to developing them as athletes, and what activities they can undertake at home to continue this key area of development.
  • Tuesday 1 September 11.00am-1.00pm Developing Physical Literacy in Para-Swimmers (Assistant/Level 1 coaches)¬†Aim ‚Äď Provide coaches with support and guidance to identify suitable Practices & Adaptations for the development of a Para-Swimmer.
  • Tuesday 8 September 11.00am-1.00pm Identifying Suitable Practices for the Development of Para-Swimmers (Coach/Level 2 coaches)¬†Aim ‚Äď Support coaches to identify areas of development using stroke analysis and to implement suitable practices and adaptations for the development of a para-swimmer

Click here to visit the Para Swimming page on our website with full information on how to book onto one of these workshops.

Issued 1 August 2020

Many public pools to remain closed

July 24, 2020   By


Swim England has pleaded with the Government to ensure swimming doesn‚Äôt become leisure‚Äôs ‚Äėforgotten activity‚Äô after it was revealed that almost a third of public pools could remain closed for another six months. Indoor pools across the country are allowed to reopen on Saturday 25 July, 128 days after being forced to shut on 20 March as part of the nationwide effort to help curb the spread of Covid-19.¬†However, less than 20 per cent of local authority-owned facilities will welcome swimmers back into the water on reopening day, and many of those will be at a reduced capacity.¬†New research also shows 30 per cent of public pools may remain closed into 2021 due to the exceptional costs councils face to reopen facilities, coupled with the income lost during the lockdown period.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, has reiterated her plea to the Government to step in and ensure that these facilities are given the financial support they need to survive.¬†‚ÄúWe‚Äôre obviously delighted that pools have finally been given the green light to reopen for the first time in more than four months,‚ÄĚ she said.¬†‚ÄúHowever, we face the real risk of swimming becoming a forgotten activity for so many people if public leisure centres open their gyms first and leave pools closed until next year.¬†Before the lockdown, 4.7 million people a month were swimming regularly. It is such a unique activity in that it offers huge physical and mental health benefits, and helps save the NHS and social care system more than ¬£357 million a year.”

Necessary, affordable facilities

‚ÄúIt would be short-sighted not to provide the necessary financial support to help facilities blighted by the pandemic. The savings made to the NHS alone would quickly more than recover the initial outlay.¬†We share the frustrations of our members and affiliated clubs who still find themselves unable to enjoy the activities they love so dearly and we will keep fighting on their behalf to get them back into their pools as soon as possible.‚Ä̬†Jane added that pools are also valuable commodities in local communities.

She said: ‚ÄúA local pool has the power to generate ¬£7.2 million social value in community savings.¬†We appreciate that finances across the country are stretched but it‚Äôs a no-brainer that we should invest in public leisure facilities.¬†The #SaveLeisure campaign continues to have our backing and we urge the Government to provide the ring-fenced funding needed to help prevent significant market failure ‚Äď which we know will hit less affluent areas hardest.¬†Funding is also vital to help prevent facilities increasing the cost of going swimming.¬†Water-based activity is loved by millions ‚Äď and we will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that remains the case and people have the necessary, affordable facilities to enjoy the water.‚ÄĚ

Issued 24 July 2020

Guidance for competitive activities

July 21, 2020   By


Swim England is ‚Äėproactively working‚Äô on how it can take the next steps towards competitive activity ‚Äď after announcing the numbers in some group training sessions can now increase.¬†The latest Government guidelines on group numbers means Swim England has updated its Returning to the Pool guidance for clubs.¬†While no national competitions are scheduled to take place this year, Swim England is looking at how it can safely take the next steps in the return of all its sports.¬†George Wood, Swim England Sport Development Director, said: ‚ÄúEveryone who loves our sports has missed being able to train in the pools and once clubs start sessions, we know athletes will start to wonder when competitions can be held again.¬†We will continue to be guided by the Government on when it will be safe to do so but we are proactively working on how we can take those next steps.‚ÄĚ

Group sizes for training

Swim England’s Returning to the Pool guidance for clubs focuses on training activity rather than competitive training or competitions themselves.  Further information regarding competitions as Government guidance on numbers evolves and restrictions on numbers in gatherings relax will be developed. In preparation for the opening of pools on 25 July, Swim England has been following the latest Government guidance on group sizes. Clubs should note that the primary guidance in the Swim England Returning to the Pool document indicates a maximum bather load of 6 m2 per participant.  All activity must also be risk assessed and agreed with the pool operator.

Lane swimming

Clubs should group swimmers to train in a lane. ¬†As far as is possible, that group should continue to train together in subsequent training sessions.¬† Examples of lane swimming protocols and numbers can be found in the guidance in ‚ÄėGuidance for Community Swimming‚Äė¬†section and the Guidance for Clubs‚Äô section of the Swim England Return to Pools guidance.

Water polo, diving and artistic swimming

Clubs should group participants to train together.  As far as is possible, that group should continue to train together in subsequent training sessions. At present, within Government guidance, the maximum group number for u18s is 15, plus coach(es). Clubs can identify how they can best group their participants to train together in groups of up to 15 maximum. More than one group can be training at one time but the club will need to maintain adequate separation between the groups to respect social-distancing guidance. The maximum number of adults in a group is five plus a coach. The club can have multiple groups of five training at one time led by the same or different coaches.  The club will need to maintain adequate separation between the groups to respect social-distancing guidance.

Land training

For u18s, clubs can now have groups of up to 15, subject to risk assessment and maintaining safety and safeguarding of participants. Swim England’s land training guidance will be updated accordingly. For adults, land training can be offered to groups of five (plus the coach) but multiple groups can train at one time under the guidance of the coach subject to risk assessment and maintaining the safety of participants.

Competitive activity 

Swim England is proactively looking at how it can take the next steps in the return of its sports and, in particular, competition in all of our disciplines. The Discipline Leadership Groups for each sport are working on this now and will be aiming to share more detail in September.

It is expected that all participants will require a significant block of training before recommencing competition and guidance to support coaches has been produced on this and will be published on Wednesday 22 July. The Government guidance around competition can change dependent on the situation with Covid-19, and Swim England will be monitoring these developments and seeking to build contingencies where necessary.

For competition in water polo and artistic swimming, Swim England will need to comply with the Government‚Äôs recently released¬†Return to Recreational Team Sport Framework¬†that deals with ‚Äėcompetitive recreational activity‚Äô.¬†Swim England will be working as quickly as possible to submit its plans to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.¬†For the moment, however, the guidance for water polo and artistic swimming is very clearly focused on training activities that are not ‚Äėcompetitive‚Äô and maintain social distancing throughout.¬†For that reason, Swim England is confident that this can commence from 25 July when pools open as long as clubs adhere to the guidance.

Issued 20 July 2020