Active Dorset, Dorset Race Equality Council & BH Live project goes swimmingly well
Posted: Mon, 03 Apr 2017 15:21
Active Dorset County Sports Partnership have teamed up with Dorset Race Equality Council (DREC) and BH Live to deliver an inspiring 16-week mixed-ethnicity, female-only swimming project in Boscombe, one of the most deprived wards in the country (highest 0.4% in IOD). Active Dorset utilised Sportivate funds to create a project that encouraged women from Bengali, Arab, Pakistani, Indian, Sudanese, Lebanese and mixed race backgrounds to swim.
Many females from Muslim backgrounds are unable to swim in front of non-mahram males and non-Muslim females as it is against their religion and beliefs. The issue was initially raised with DREC back in 2013 when many local pools were suggested as potential venues. However, the environment, facilities, and available pool times were not suitable for participants. The CSP met with DREC and BH Live to negotiate access to a swimming pool at the Queens Park leisure facility.
By November 2016, the group were swimming at BH Live's Queens Park facility with the assistance of appropriate female lifeguards, blackout blinds covering windows and a reserved Sunday evening 5-6pm slot.
Due to the size of the pool (18 meters) the number of swimmers was restricted to 35, but partners did not expect this number to attend. However, three of the first six weeks saw a maximum number of attendances. Due to the success of the project, key partners agreed a new registration process with the participants working with BH Live reception staff to take on ownership of the pre-registration process, updating the registers on the day.
Following the tremendous success of the initial 6-week pilot, the CSP extended the funding for a further 10 weeks. After March 2017, sessions will be self-sustained by the participants who have agreed to hire the pool independently by making small weekly donations. They are now looking to hire the pool on two days to match the high levels of demand. To enable further sustainability for the project, participants have put their names forward for lifeguarding qualifications.