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In 2017 we were asked, once again, by the RNLI to independently evaluate the Swim Safe programme. Swim Safe was launched in 2013 by the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea and Swim England, the national governing body for swimming in England. The Swim Safe programme offers free outdoor swimming and water safety sessions for children aged 7-14. Having conducted a full review of the programme in 2016, it was a pleasure to be invited back to see how the programme continues to go from strength to strength, enabling more and more children to learn vital water safety skills. It was also great to see how the suggestions that we made in the previous year had been adopted and how the programme was thriving as a result.

In 2017, 13,000 children took part in the programme across 22 sites that were spread across the UK. After taking part in Swim Safe, 67.7% knew that they were likely to have trouble breathing if they fell into cold water, a 26.8% increase compared to responses before taking part in Swim Safe. The programme draws a large amount of partner funding from schools, local authorities and other organisations who see the huge importance in creating this important offer in their area to ensure water safety.


Our work concentrated on the following: The newly formed school programmes that are now within the Swim Safe programme, the importance of engaging parents with the programme and how to effectively engage parents in the programme can be achieved. We visited sites in Wales, London, Manchester, and Plymouth where we talked to parents, teachers, Swim Safe instructors, as well as with programme management teams to learn everything regarding the programme. This allowed us to effectively evaluate the Swim Safe programme.


An official report was completed and was handed over to RNLI. Alongside the report we also presented to the Programme Board, Chaired by Steve Parry, in London to discuss our recommendations and how to improve the Swim Safe programme.

Guy Botterill, RNLI: “It was fantastic to work with Sports Structures again this year. They delivered above expectations with the brief that was set, which has enabled the programme to go from strength to strength and further the reach to even more young people. They have been a great addition to the team. Thank you”