Every child able to swim: Active Oxfordshire’s Water Safety Summit

Every child able to swim: Active Oxfordshire’s Water Safety Summit

Posted: Mon, 10 May 2021 13:04

Every child able to swim: Active Oxfordshire’s Water Safety Summit

In Oxfordshire, we are surrounded by waterways however only 65% of our County's children can swim 25 metres by age 11 with only 55% of children being able to perform self-rescue by age 11. Even more worryingly, in our most disadvantaged areas, only 25% of children are able to swim. Active Oxfordshire is investing £50,000 in this area of work over the next 12 months given the severity of the situation currently in the County.

On 28th April, Active Oxfordshire was joined by national governing bodies, local authorities, charities, leisure providers, schools, and universities for an Oxfordshire Water Safety and Swimming Summit that showcased the work from Cherwell District Council & Legacy Leisure, Oxford Hub and Above Water who are tackling the different barriers that stop children and their families being able to swim. Topics included: the state of play for water safety and swimming in Oxfordshire with the latest data and insight, Above Water's work within education settings, Cherwell District Council & Legacy Leisure's support for residents to overcome cultural barriers to swimming, and partnership working in Oxford addressing the disparity in swimming attainment between high and low affluence families.

Josh Lenthall, Strategic Children & Young People Relationship Manager at Active Oxfordshire shared his thoughts on the event:

"The summit was an opportunity to take stock of the shocking inequalities in swimming and water safety in Oxfordshire and to share solutions. Children from less affluent households in the county face significant barriers to learning to swim and it was fantastic to hear how three of our partners are tackling these issues."

Sara Fernandez, CEO of Oxford Hub said:

"Through our community work with children and families we have learned about the challenges of learning how to swim, particularly for those who are most economically disadvantaged. We are excited to be working with Active Oxfordshire, Radley College and other partners across the city to make swimming more accessible to families and ensure those less likely to learn are offered support that fits perfectly around their needs."

The impact of COVID-19 saw many projects put on hold due to school closures. Fortunately, with a timely arrival of Opening School Facilities funding from Sport England, delivery is being planned for work across the school partnership in Cherwell to provide swimming opportunities to benefit current Year 7 pupils who missed swimming during Year 6, with the aim of improving their ability to swim 25m.

To get involved and help us achieve our ambition of every child in Oxfordshire able to swim, please contact joshlenthall@activeoxfordshire.org

Tags: Active Schools