Spirit of 2012 has announced today that it will award £60,000 to Swim England to fund a new project aiming to increase inclusion and accessibility across their volunteering structure. The Ripple Effect aims to break down barriers for people who want to become volunteers and encourage them to get involved with aquatic sports.

The two-year project, which will end in March 2024 will operate in two phases. The first, lasting until September 2022 will see Swim England work closely with national disability sporting organisations to get their input ensuring the accessibility is developed by disabled people.

The second will see a small cohort of disabled volunteers join Swim England and progress through the volunteering pathway. This will identify accessibility barriers for the volunteers, present an opportunity to work with non-disabled volunteers and challenge perceptions around disability.

Susie Rodgers MBE, six-time Paralympic swimming medallist for Team GB and Spirit of 2012 Board Member said: “We are looking forward to working with Swim England and being able to combine the insights from The Ripple Effect with other research funded by us to look into inclusive volunteering. In this year of major events, there will be plenty of volunteering opportunities – we must ensure that we’re doing what we can to reduce barriers for disabled people.”

Claire Coleman, Head of Development, Swim England, said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded this funding by Spirit of 2012 as it enables us to carry out a project that will hopefully bring positive and powerful change. Spirit of 2012 has a strong interest in aquatics sports and together we believe we can achieve social change with this incubation funding.

“Over time, we plan to identify the barriers that may exist for people who want to become volunteers but feel as though it’s not a path that is open to them. Then it simply becomes about how we get over, go around or take down those barriers – which is at the heart of this project”

Lisa Whyte, Volunteer Manager, Swim England, said: “This is a really important piece of work that we are excited to get started on. Not only will this help shape a better environment within our current volunteering structure, but it also gives us the opportunity to carry on implementing this change moving forwards.

“By 2025, we would hope to have used this seed funding to have brought a further 500 disabled people into a relationship with our volunteering pathway.”

Further information

The Ripple Effect project page

Swim England website