Campaigners get behind swim appeal

SOME of the country's biggest campaigners for swimming are getting behind a local appeal to set up a national website to highlight the plight of British swimming today.

SOME of the country's biggest campaigners for swimming are getting behind a local appeal to set up a national website to highlight the plight of British swimming today.

Through the Evening Star's annual Christmas Appeal, website editor Sally Wainman came up with the idea for a website which would provide a central place for swimming pool campaigners to communicate.

Although Sally's application was unsuccessful, her campaign, which requires £2,000 to get off the ground, has received widespread backing.

Wainman said: “There are many reasons why people should back this campaign. To start with, the obesity timebomb is ticking away for millions of children, many of whom face heart failure or diabetes at a much earlier age than their parents did.

“Added to this, there is a continuing drop in swimming skills with 20% of our children now reaching secondary school age without learning to swim. They in their turn will then become non-swimming parents.

“Swimming brings long-term benefits, but it is hard to attract funding for pools because they do not make profits in the short term. This is something I want to address because swimming appeals to people of all ages and abilities and is an activity that, once enjoyed as a child, is one that is most likely to be continued into adulthood.”

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Played in Britain produce a series of books on England's sporting heritage, their representative Jackie Spreckley said: “I fully endorse Sally Wainman's application for funding to set up a national website to support swimming pool campaigners and highlight the plight of swimming in this country

“Through Played in Britain we have encountered many hundreds of campaigners around the country desperate to rescue or retain swimming pools in their communities. It is clear that one of the issues they face is a lack of information as to how to lobby, raise the profile of their campaigns, source funding and so on. A national website would offer the opportunity to share best practice, gain strength through numbers and obviate the need to 're-invent the wheel' each time a pool is threatened.

“At a time when we are all being urged to take more exercise, offer sporting opportunities to young people to engage with the 2012 Olympics and get involved with our local communities, such a website would be an invaluable resource.

“Sally is an experienced swimming pool campaigner and website editor who is to be commended for taking up the challenge.”

Ann Morgan, of the Victorian Society, has been heavily involved in a scheme called 'Making a Splash', a national conference which brings together local campaigners for pools from around the UK. She said: “The day in last June was a great success and highlighted the need for a national network to help campaigners, nearly all of whom work in their spare time, to make their voices heard.”

To help Sally with her appeal, please e-mail her at sally.wainman@ntlworld.com.

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