Thursday, May 14, 2020

No imminent return to the pool

UK sport announcement

I am sure you will have seen the announcement yesterday from UK Sport about a return to performance training in England, but I wanted to reiterate the current guidelines from the Scottish Government and what that means for Scotland. As per our statement last week, the message from the Scottish Government is that lockdown rules remain and those rules apply to all Scottish Swimming members, currently residing in Scotland.

Competitions - all disciplines

Back in March, when the situation escalated we advised that no meets could take place before 1 September 2020 and that the licensing of meets after this date would be reviewed when the situation became clearer.

Whilst there is still no timetable available to give an indication as to when we will be returning to competition, we are preparing plans for that time.  Until further notice, no new licences will be issued for meets taking place after 1 September 2020 and licences that have already been issued for the period September to December will be reviewed, and may be withdrawn at a later date.  No licensed meets can take place until explicit instruction is given and the conditions of any licence may be varied.   

In addition, the calendar planning process carried out by Districts for 2021 has been suspended while a review of the needs of athletes and clubs is carried out.

Working through what a return may look like

Rest assured we have started making plans for when restrictions begin to ease and we continue to work with partners about what a return to the water may look like when factoring in any social distancing measures, which will need to be in place across all facilities. The majority of the pool providers are members of Community Leisure Scotland (CLS) and we have started to engage with CLS to understand how we can plan for a safe return to pools if restrictions are lifted over a phased approach. Some of the factors included in this thinking include a return to aquatics training, club support strategy, what competition may look like, risk assessment frameworks etc. This is at an early stage and it will take time to work through the detail and given the uncertainty any plans will undoubtedly evolve and change.

We are as keen as anyone for our sports to return, however, any plans and decisions made will be made in the best interests of the health and safety of our members, and will be based on the advice issued by the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland. We will continue to communicate relevant information as and when the situation changes.

Additional support

We appreciate that this continues to be a frustrating and difficult time for us all, so I would like to highlight information which may be of use for clubs and members alike. Colleagues at sportscotland and Harper Macleod LLP have produced useful information and guidance for sports clubs in Scotland and seeks to address some of the most common questions that clubs may have during this time. Please click HERE for the details. 

The Swimathon Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund has extended its deadline. This Fund has been established to help small swimming and aquatics organisations in the UK experiencing financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A limited amount of grant funding will be made available, with individual grants of a minimum amount of £250 and a maximum amount of £1,000. Further details can be found HERE.

The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) is a £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland. The fund supports organisations that already deliver services and products but find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Further details can be found HERE.

Please continue to stay connected and engaged with our online courses, content and challenges as we endeavour to keep bringing our members together as much as we can. If you have any questions or concerns around aquatics in Scotland in the coming weeks and months. Scottish Swimming staff contacts can be found HERE.

Thank you.

Euan Lowe

Chief Executive, Scottish Swimming