There are a number of ‘barriers’ that preclude many BMEs from participating in swimming, either on a regular basis or indeed at all. These barriers exist as a result of our community’s attitudes and/or a lack of information and education about the various benefits and opportunities that participating in aquatics offers. From Water Safety Awareness, Life Saving and Drowning Prevention to Career Opportunities and Socio Economic Advancements.
By using, giving visibility to and carefully sign-posting resources already available, the BSA believes together, we can encourage the Black British community to get into the water. We have divided our target demographic into three categories:
- Primary School Children (7-11 year olds)
- Secondary School Students (11-16 & 16 - 19 year olds)
- Parents and over 21 year olds (Adult Community)
Partnering with national swimming bodies, Water Safety, Life Saving and Drowning Prevention Institutes, the BSA plans to run ‘Small Talks’ campaigns in local communities with the aim to help save as many lives as possible by equipping people with the relevant knowledge, skills and information on water safety. These ‘Small Talks’ campaigns can be introduced especially in primary schools in areas of the country with high Afro-Caribbean populations, much in the same way primary school pupils currently receive workshops from the emergency services.
The incentive would be to educate the students on what to do in an emergency, drowning prevention and the importance of learning how to swim.
Aquaphobia is a real issue for the average black adult, and is known to be passed down generations. Most of these black adults (first and second generation) may never have learned to swim and/or were never taught real water safety measures; either for lack of opportunity or exposure. Through the years, strong behaviours and attitudes to water would have reinforced underlying aquaphobia. Our intention is to educate these parents about water safety so they become less scared of the water and more fearful of the reality of their children drowning, simply because they and their children cannot swim.