An East London swimming club is providing classes for 50 extra people thanks to subsidised teacher training from the London Mayor.
The London Borough of Redbridge Swimming Club (LBRSC) has 30 staff delivering sessions to 320 members, from learn to swim classes through to national swimmers and master’s classes. Sixty percent of staff are volunteers.
Chief Coach Paul Robbins says the club had previously struggled to find teachers qualified to level 2 to take classes.
“Becoming fully qualified is prohibitively expensive for many people, especially in the current financial climate, and unfortunately we can only offer volunteers a small amount towards their training costs. This meant we found it difficult to find good level 2 teachers, and struggled to find cover for teachers when they were ill or on leave.”
In 2010, several of the club’s staff began ASA level 1 and 2 swimming teaching and coaching training with support from the Mayor’s Sport’s Legacy Fund. Managed by the National Skills Academy for Sport and Active Leisure, the fund provides London volunteers with up to 75% off the cost of training in exchange for volunteering hours, to deliver a sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
LBRSC volunteer teacher and coach Kelsey Richards received 75% off her UKCC level 2 certificate in teaching aquatics as well as her UKCC level 2 certificate in coaching swimming thanks to the Fund - and now wants to progress to level 3.
“I would not have been able to finance these courses myself and am really happy to be able to volunteer for both my club and the community of Redbridge,” she says. “I love the sport and want to be able to coach other swimmers to reach their maximum potential and be the best coach I can be.”
Paul says 90% of the club’s staff have now received funding through the scheme, and several members have also put their hands up for coaching training so they can take on roles at the club.
“The subsidised training has provided current staff with fresh ideas and enthusiasm for their job.
It’s also given our members the opportunity to give back to the sport and become great teachers and coaches working for the club and our pool provider, Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure.
“We now have an abundance of qualified teachers within the borough, which has enabled us and Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure to provide classes for 50 extra swimmers. We’ve also had a few people attend ASA Level 1 and 2 coaching courses, which is great as I can now look at developing younger adults into quality coaches.”
Paul says the funding has been “priceless” for the club: “Both LBRSC and Vision’s objective for some time has been to improve the quality of teaching within Redbridge and this funding has helped us achieve that. The newly qualified teachers are the future of our club and I’m confident they will remain in swimming long term.”