Printed Date: 27/04/2018

GLL Bucks Trend as Swimming Participation Surges

Charitable social enterprise GLL, has reported real growth in participation levels since 2012, with an increase of over 10 per cent during the past year. The findings contrast with the recent Sport England Active People Report, which suggested that swimming participation in the UK was in decline. The not-for-profit is the now the biggest operator of swimming facilities within both the UK public and private sectors, directly managing 106 centres with pools. Annual figures to date for 2015 show 8.1 million visits to GLL swimming facilities, demonstrating a significant 16 per cent increase on the same period in 2014. In addition memberships at GLL’s Better Swim School are at a record high, totalling over 90,000, while the number of pre-paid Better Swim memberships has also risen to over 15,000. The success of the London Aquatics Centre on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London has been a particular highlight. It recently celebrated the millionth visitor through its doors, hosts 2,000 children for school swimming sessions each week and has further 3,300 youngsters signed up to the venue’s swim school programme. Andrew Clark, GLL’s Aquatics Manager comments: “Our figures contrast Sport England’s recent Active People Report, however this may in part be explained by the fact that GLL’s figures include participation amongst under 14 year olds – a key growth area; whereas Sport England looked only at those aged over 14 years. “We believe that the fantastic growth we’ve seen in our pools reflects our recognition that the way the general public want to use aquatic facilities has changed over the past decade and we have had to adapt to accommodate it. “We’ve developed pool programmes to cope with the varied demands of pool users and innovated where necessary. We’ve seen more effective intensive school swimming lessons being introduced and have worked hard to make conventional competitive pools more fun, for example by adding inflatable playgrounds. We’re also seeing an increased interest in fitness swimming for triathlons and open water challenges.”