Swimmers in Hackney and Islington raise money to save their club
- Credit: Hackney Aquatics
An east London swimming club with members from Hackney, Islington and neighbouring boroughs has just launched a crowdfunder to secure its future.
Hackney Aquatics Club, which represents around 350 swimmers, says it has suffered during the pandemic, with swimmer numbers falling by more than 25 per cent since March.
In usual times the club offers bursaries to one in five members each month, to help towards training costs, travel and gala entry fees, and it is worried more members will be lost if it is unable to continue offering concessions and support.
Club chair Chris Ogden told the Gazette: “Our swimmers represent one of the most diverse swim clubs in the UK. They are resilient, talented and determined.
"Our coaches are dedicated to keeping these relationships going but like all youth organisations, we’re facing a frightening gap in our income."
The club hopes to raise £20,000 in a crowdfunder to pay for increased pool expenses, coaching costs and to cover the membership fees for families "hardest-hit" by the pandemic.
Hackney Aquatics Club has secured match funding from Sport England, which means if the club raises £10,000, Sport England will match the amount with an additional £10,000, bringing the total to £20,000.
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"We need our partners, funders, parents, carers and local communities to work with us. If we work together, we will survive,” said Chris.
Plans to raise money will include the club's National Performance squad cycling the distance from London to Tokyo, which is almost 10,000km in total or 367km per swimmer.
Hackney Aquatics swimmers compete at a national, regional and county level and, in 2019, swimmers from the club won five medals at the British Swimming Championships, five medals at English national championships and 29 medals at regional championships.
It was given Hackney Club of the Year and an Inclusion award at the Hackney Youth Sports Awards 2019, and it's disability squad took part in the World Para Swimming Championship.
The crowdfunder campaign runs until April 4 at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hackney-aquatics-club-covid-19-appeal