Everybody Sport and Recreation Learn to Swim Scheme
8 March 2016
Everybody Sport and Recreation
Due to a number of recent questions regarding the changes to swimming club use in leisure centres in Cheshire East, Peter Hartwell CEO and Andrew Kolker Chairman of Trustees at Everybody Sport and Recreation would like to provide an overview of the reasons behind these decisions.
Since autumn 2015 we have been in consultation with swimming clubs in Cheshire East that currently operate commercial learn to swim schemes in our facilities. We have made the decision that as of April 2017, the Trust will be delivering the Learn to Swim (ASA Stages 1-7) in house, enabling swimming clubs to focus on the competitive element and other aquatic disciplines such as water polo, lifesaving and synchronised swimming from Stage 8 onwards.
Currently, Everybody teaches over 5,600 children and adults to swim in Cheshire East however we still have a waiting list of 1,000. The demand we have as a Trust to deliver lessons currently exceeds pool time availability due to swimming clubs often operating at peak times for heavily subsidised hire rates.
Furthermore, there is an inconsistent approach to swimming lessons and pool hire agreements in our centres which the new club use agreement is designed to address.
At Everybody we proudly deliver the ASA Learn to Swim Pathway. This all-inclusive programme takes the non-swimmer from his or her first splash to developing confidence and competence in the water, right through to competitive swimming.
Each lesson follows the ASA framework; this is a tried and tested method which has been approved by the National Governing Body of swimming, the ASA.
Everybody employs ASA Level 1 and 2 qualified swimming teachers to deliver our Learn to Swim Pathway and we are an ASA Affiliated Provider of swimming lessons. Our Everybody Academy also provides training for swimming teachers at level 1 and 2 and we have trained 60 swimming teachers since 2014 creating jobs and helping meet lesson demands.
We have worked with the ASA and our club use agreement proposals are in line with common practice across the country.
Although not all of our reasoning is based on financial pressure, it is worth highlighting recent and ongoing reinvestment into our centres and the savings we are making as a Trust for the community facilities we operate.
On average there has been an investment of £3million per year across all leisure centres over the last three years, in total over £9.2million; with further planned investment from Cheshire East Council of £9million on a new pool at Congleton. A further £800k needs to be invested into our pools in Wilmslow, Nantwich and Macclesfield for improvements during 2016/17 and let’s not forget the £15M+ invested into the new lifestyle centre in Crewe.
Our savings to date of £2.1million per annum are helping finance this investment and any future surpluses we make are ploughed back into our centres too. As a charitable Trust we reinvest improving our centres and the lives of our community for the benefit of all our residents and customers.
Our pools currently cost £250-300 per hour to operate and it is important the long term viability of pools is a made a priority at a time when some local authorities are having to consider closing leisure facilities due to funding shortfalls and competing demands from other statutory services.
Our aim is to increase participation in sport and provide healthy recreation across Cheshire East.
There is currently a national decline in participation in swimming with 729,000 people stopping swimming in the last decade (source: Sport England).
To counter this decline, Everybody is offering unlimited free public swimming sessions to children learning to swim with us. This is to encourage families to swim together and swim often and help children to improve on their swimming technique to progress through the Learn to Swim stages. We also provide concession rates with discounts of up to 40%.
The new agreement with swimming clubs will enable us to provide clear pathways to competitive swimming, encouraging ongoing development in swimming at stages 8+ with a new sustainable partnership model.
In return, we are providing clubs with increased pool time for competitive training and development, off-peak hire rates at half price (our pools are now open from 6am) and we are working with the ASA to find alternative models to grow and support non-competitive clubs.
Opportunities for swimming club coaches to deliver lessons and integrate into the later stages of Everybody Swim stages are also being explored to provide continued employment for teachers and familiarity for learners.
We have seen support from Cheshire East Council in our decisions and we are having positive discussions with the majority of clubs affected by these changes.
We would like to reiterate that it is not the case we are seeking to close swimming clubs down. Rather we want to work with the clubs and the ASA to ensure they can continue to thrive and grow their membership.
In summary, it is the aim of Everybody to change lives through healthy recreation and grow an ethical and sustainable business. The new club use agreement and our commitment to developing our Everybody SWIM offer will allow us improve the picture of swimming participation in Cheshire East, deliver a high standard of swimming lessons to children and adults and keep our swimming pools and leisure centres open to everyone.
Peter Hartwell, CEO and Andrew Kolker, Chairman at Everybody Sport and Recreation.
Enquiries regarding Everybody Swim and the new club use agreements can be emailed to [email protected]
Notes to Editor
Everybody Sport & Recreation – Everybody is a charitable trust established to run public leisure services in the Cheshire East area. The trust aims to provide ‘leisure for life’ by changing lives through healthy recreation. The charity operates 15 leisure facilities as well as leisure development and outreach programmes and the new Everybody Academy, providing local training and career opportunities. For more information please visit: www.everybody.org.uk or follow on Twitter @ebleisure
News regarding Free Swimming: https://everybody.org.uk/unlimited-free-swimming-children-learning-swim/
Statement regarding changes to club use (February 2016): https://everybody.org.uk/statement-regarding-swimming-club-use/
Sport England National Statistics: http://www.sportengland.org/
Congleton Swimming Pool Development: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk
E: [email protected]
T: 01270 685945