Earlier this year, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) engaged in conversations with the newly-formed, non-profit organisation, the Black Swimming Association (BSA), to explore how RLSS UK could better support their mission, to work closely with the black community and national aquatic governing authorities on water safety, lifesaving and drowning prevention measures.

Today, RLSS UK is delighted to announce a new strategic partnership between the two bodies.

The BSA is the first organisation of its kind in the UK, set up as a voice, an advocate and a strategic agent for change, to drive forward participation, inclusion and diversity in aquatics for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people. With statistics showing that 95 per cent of black adults and 80 per cent of black children in England do not swim, the launch of the BSA in March this year, was a welcome addition to the aquatic family.

Ed Accura, Head of Partnerships at the Black Swimming Association said:

“We know that our strength lies in working together to understand, overcome and break significant age-long barriers to swimming within black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

“Only in collaborative partnership can we drive participation, engagement and inclusion, for people from BAME communities in aquatics. That is ultimately why we decided to launch the Black Swimming Association and were delighted when we were approached by the Royal Life Saving Society UK.”

By the start of this year, the RLSS UK Board of Trustees had already defined the Charity’s purpose as ‘to enhance communities, so that everyone can enjoy being in, on or near water, safely – because every life is worth saving’. A critical part of this purpose includes reaching out to communities that may be more vulnerable than others, and facilitating access to the employment pathways in the leisure sector, that lifeguarding and lifesaving training, can present.

Robert Gofton, CEO at the Royal Life Saving Society UK said:

“For almost 130 years our Charity has existed to enable everyone to enjoy water, safely; this latest definition of our purpose has helped focus our strategy, with the solid reinforcement of our belief that every life is worth saving.

“One of our specific priorities within the new strategy, is the identification of funding to bring vocational lifeguard training into BAME communities, where these opportunities may not ordinarily be visible or accessible.

“Our partnership with the Black Swimming Association is an exciting one and will be the catalyst for new initiatives, and more inclusive representation across the leisure sector, as well as enabling us to reach new communities with our water safety advice.”

The Royal Life Saving Society UK, across the UK and Ireland, are proud to stand side-by-side with the Black Swimming Association and help save lives and enabling everyone to enjoy water safely.