Although World Swim Day on 22nd October reminds us about the mental and physical benefits of swimming, the alarming reality is that 1 in 4 children in the UK leave primary school unable to swim. Without intervention, this could worsen to 6 in 10 by 2025.*
Research from Swim England shows that those most at risk are children from ethnic minority and socially disadvantaged backgrounds – 80% of Black children and 78% of Asian children do not swim.
Ellie Simmonds has joined fellow Speedo athletes, Adam Peaty and Michael Gunning, in calling on people to sign the Speedo Swim United Change.org petition. Now approaching 50,000 signatures, it’s asking for the UK Government to support the need for intervention and positive action.
Ellie calls for government intervention
For the five-time Paralympic gold medallist, currently starring in BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, swimming has been a life-changing experience.
“I was lucky enough to start swimming at the age of five and feel passionate that anyone, regardless of ability or background, has the right to develop their skills. Throughout my swimming career, and most recently on the dance floor, I’ve been committed to proving sport and physical activity are for everyone. I believe this should be the case in all sports. Swimming is massively beneficial to both our physical and mental wellbeing and is a basic survival skill. I’ll continue to work through the Speedo Swim United programme to tackle this critical issue. I ask the public to show their support by signing the Change.org petition.”
Inspiring young swimmers
Despite swimming being the only sport that provides a life-saving skill, over a million primary school children in the UK can’t swim. Speedo’s Swim United programme hopes to change this, aiming for all children to leave primary school able to swim 25m or self-rescue by 2025.
The programme, in partnership with The Black Swimming Association, Swim England and Active Black Country, is helping kids learn to swim and find joy in the water. Speedo has already invested in inspiring over 2,500 children in the UK to swim, as well as funding two-week intensive swim lessons for over 1,200 seven to twelve-year-olds. It will extend the UK programme next year alongside pilots in countries such as South Africa and the US.
Save lives by pledging your support
Although swimming is part of the National Curriculum, and all primary schools receive funding for swimming lessons, its use is not ring-fenced. It’s therefore at risk of not being used on this vital life skill.
Ellie, Adam, Michael and Speedo are calling on the public to take action by offering their support via the Change.org petition, a move they hope will surely change lives.
*Research from Swim England shows that:
Only 42% of school children in the most deprived areas of the country can swim
95% of Black adults and 80% of Black children in England do not swim
93% of Asian adults and 78% of Asian children in England do not swim
More than half a million children from ethnic minority communities have missed out on swimming due to the pandemic
Photo credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire