It takes a village to raise a child: working together to tackle inequalities in swimming & cycling

It takes a village to raise a child: working together to tackle inequalities in swimming & cycling

Posted: Fri, 04 Jun 2021 11:12

It takes a village to raise a child: working together to tackle inequalities in swimming & cycling

Active Oxfordshire's Josh Lenthall on how creativity and collaboration leads to more children able to swim and cycle.

You may have noticed recently that Active Oxfordshire and partner organisations have been taking issue with the inequality that exists in our county around swimming and cycling for young people. In less affluent areas of the County only 25% of children are able to swim and perform self-rescue, and cycling uptake is very similar.

You only need to walk near a river or canal this half term to see hundreds of people enjoying our waterways and who can blame them - after all we are nearly 70 miles from the nearest coastline! However, with rescues being carried out by the RNLI and Fire and Rescue Services up and down the country daily this half term, it is a stark reminder that we need to equip children with the necessary skills to enjoy being near water safely.

The African proverb: "It takes a village to raise a child" really rings true when we look at inequalities around children's swimming and cycling. Put simply, we all have a part to play either professionally or as citizens to support our young people to be healthy and active and we need to think creatively to ensure that EVERY child can access these two fantastic life skills.

A recent example of working creatively with all members of the community has been in Active Oxfordshire and Oxford Hub's partnership with Radley College.

Over the Spring, students at Radley College generously held a fundraising campaign to raise nearly £3,000 for the Ready Set Go campaign but that was just the start.

Radley College have become increasingly involved with the campaign and recently held a bike donation day where parents and families from the school community could donate a bike that will then get refurbished and provided to a young person in East Oxford. Led by Young Sports Leaders at the school and generously supported by staff and families, an amazing 102 bikes were donated, not to mention a scooter which will also be given a new forever home!

In addition, current and incoming Year 7s of The Oxford Academy who were unable to complete swimming lessons during Year 6 due to Covid-19 will also be able to learn these skills with Radley College from next week. Pupils will be able to sign up to free weekly swimming lessons using the top-class facilities at Radley College.

We'd like to extend our sincere thanks to Radley College for their openness to supporting young people in our community, and we hope that this collaboration will continue to grow.

If your school, community or organisation could get involved in helping every child in Oxfordshire to swim and cycle we'd love to hear from you. Please contact Josh Lenthall on

Tags: Active Communities, Active Schools