Swim England has vowed ‘to create a better future’ for everyone in its sports as part of a cultural change journey which will put members, coaches, teachers, parents, clubs and swim schools at the heart of aquatics. Included in the national governing body’s new safeguarding, welfare and culture plan, Heart of Aquatics, is a commitment to listen to the ‘experiences and views’ of everyone involved in aquatics in a bid to be able to take ‘proactive formative action’.
Swim England will use independent experts to lead the listening work, as well as in the delivery and scrutiny of the Heart of Aquatics plan to ensure there is a ‘positive culture across its sports and that the highest standards of welfare and safeguarding are in place’.
The plan focuses on three key pillars of work in 2023 – listen, support and resource. These are ‘critical’ to the Heart of Aquatics’ success as they will help Swim England to ‘understand and reflect’ on what is going well or not going well – and what needs to improve.
Swim England has already started to implement ‘important reforms and significant changes’ within its sports and organisation. A core part of Swim England’s approach within this safeguarding, welfare and culture plan – and its soon-to-be-published new strategy, Access Aquatics – will be learning and evolving.
Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, added: “Recent experiences across society and within our sports have shown in painful detail exactly why Heart of Aquatics is needed. “We have a zero tolerance approach to poor behaviour but we have to be open and recognise that sadly not everyone has had the positive experience we would expect from participation in our sports.
“For that I am truly sorry. If we are to be successful in this cultural change journey then we need everyone in aquatics, in any role at any level, to commit to collectively doing everything we possibly can to deliver the positive, safe, welcoming environment and culture that we all want to see. “That change must start with us and everyone at Swim England is committed to playing our role in making this a success for the benefit of everyone.”