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COVID-19 Fund Helps Swimming Community to Start Recovery

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Having awarded £50,000 of grants from the Covid Relief Fund to over 100 organisations and individuals last year, Swimathon Foundation realised additional support was required this year, and released a further £30,000 to aid the swimming community this year.

After an overwhelming number of applications, the Foundation has sought to support as many members of the swimming/aquatic community as it can, and we are proud to have supported just over 250 organisations/individuals through the two Funds.

“This funding is vital for us, as it will help us support some of our family members who will have trouble with their club fees when we go back and help them stay in the sport they love,” Ron Philpot, Director of Swimming at Crawley Swimming club, recipients of funding in 2021, said. “We are excited to be returning and gathering our members across the community to get once again involved in the sport of swimming whilst helping their health and wellbeing.

The club is one of the oldest and most successful swimming and water polo clubs in Sussex, and a very important part of the local community. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the club suffered a large loss after cancelling their Spring Gala in 2020, as well as losing a number of members due to changing employment situations.

Bromsgrove Swimming Club were another to receive funding from Swimathon Foundation this year, after the club had been subsidising fees and offering fee holidays, while the head coach had waived his fee for a few months to help the club stay afloat.

Matthew Lowe, head coach at the club, said: “This funding is invaluable. We’re not a ‘big’ club, so any money coming in or going out means so much to us.

“Our committee and coaching team are all volunteers, so we managed to keep costs down during lockdown, but the limit to capacity upon reopening is the biggest challenge. Pool time got a whole lot more expensive, and as a club, we decided that we’d subsidise fees as much as possible for members.”

It wasn’t just swimming clubs who received the funding, either, with individuals getting help where it was needed, and a variety of aquatic organisations getting a helping hand through tough times. Rotherham Metro Water Polo Club was home club of three of the Team GB squad at London 2012, and caters for all level of players across the local community.

Membership fees were suspended due to Coronavirus outreak, and the club lost out on several planned fund-raising initiatives. The grant means the club will be able to undergo a much-needed recruitment drive that was originally planned at the start of 2020.

Metro welfare officer Karen Linney said: “This funding means such a lot to our club.  Lockdown has reduced our membership and receiving this support to attract new members will help us to secure our long term future.”

“Watching young players come to the trial sessions we have run previously, and absolutely loving it, is so rewarding, and now we can run more of these sessions. We are loving seeing everyone back at training and particularly welcoming some new faces in the recruitment drive that Swimathon funding has helped us to pay for through this grant.” 

Anthony Kendall OBE, Chair of Swimathon Foundation said: “In these difficult times for all swimming organisations, Swimathon Foundation has been determined to play its part in supporting those smaller, local groups that are the foundation of swimming participation throughout the UK.

“We were taken aback by the number of people who need help during these unprecedented times and that is why we have increased our overall donation to £80,000 over the two years. Swimming is a vital community activity and we are proud to play our part. Hopefully this funding means clubs and individuals around the country can continue their great work.”

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