Personal experiences of swimming for people from under-represented communities will underpin pioneering research being undertaken by the Black Swimming Association.
#OurSwimStory will to explore the barriers that some communities in England and Wales face when it comes to participating and engaging in the world of swimming and aquatics. It aims to find out why uptake of aquatic sport and activities is so low among Black and Asian people.
The researchers from specialist consultancy AKD Solutions will engage 1,400 respondents in seven locations on a range of topics including socio-economic, cultural, attitudinal, behavioural and institutional barriers to participation in aquatic activities. The partners say their research depends on building trust with communities and will highlight the most impactful stories uncovered, showing how the aquatics sector can be effective in engaging under-represented communities.
Sport England figures show that 95% of Black adults and 80% of Black children do not swim, similarly 93% of Asian adults and 78% of Asian children do not participate. The partners say they will highlight the most impactful stories uncovered during the research, showing how the aquatics sector can be effective in engaging under-represented communities.
"There are some unique, yet significant barriers which prevent people of Black and Asian heritage from getting into the water, but the findings from this project will give us real insight into how we can remove these barriers."
Danielle Obe, chair and co-founder of the BSA, said, “The commissioning of this research is a pivotal moment for us and our communities. We have long known through anecdotal evidence that there are some unique, yet significant barriers which prevent people of Black and Asian heritage from getting into the water.
"The findings from this project will give us real insight into how we can remove these barriers that have so long prevented us from getting into water; and ultimately encourage more people from ethnically diverse communities to experience the mental and physical health benefits of swimming not just as a vital life skill but as a sport.
“Swimming is the only sport that can save lives. The BSA was created to diversify the world of aquatics through advocacy, research, education, and support; collaborating with other aquatic charities, brands and national governing bodies to educate on water safety, drowning prevention, aquatic pathways and opportunities.
"Making aquatics safer, more inclusive, accessible and equitable for people of African, Caribbean, and Asian heritage. This work, alongside with our other research projects, will go a long way to making this possible.”