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- 10 February 2014 00:00
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Double Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington has unveiled the latest initiative in the ‘I Will If You Will’ campaign by opening a new mobile pool at Broad Oak Sports College in East Bury.
Adlington was joined in opening the new mobile pool by Minister for Sport Helen Grant as well as representatives from Sport England, Bury Council and the local community.
The new pool is designed to help rigorously test what works in changing the sporting habits of women and girls.
This is because the school is based in an area with a particularly high BME population and therefore the pool will address the cultural and religious sensitivities that prevent women and girls from these communities taking part in swimming.
"I’m really pleased to be in Bury to lend my support to the ‘I Will If You Will’ campaign,” said Adlington.
"I think programmes that specifically target females to take part in sport are really important.
"We need to find more ways to encourage more women and girls to be physically active, and innovative projects like the mobile pool here at Broad Oak Sports College are fantastic.
"There are lots of reasons why women and girls don’t do more physical activity, such as body image and cultural reasons, and we need to find ways of breaking these barriers down.”
As well as mainstream barriers, many women and girls from BME communities are often prevented from taking part in swimming because of the clothing that needs to be worn and the lack of female-only sessions and coaching staff.
Over the next six months, a comprehensive aquatics programme will aim to address these barriers and the lessons learned during this time used to inform local delivery in community leisure centres.
"We want to do all we can to encourage greater sports participation among women,” said the Minister for Sport.
"As part of the ‘I Will If You Will’ campaign this re-locatable pool at Broad Oak will not only be a great community asset but specifically target women and girls from BME communities to help break down the barriers that are preventing them from getting active.”
The heated indoor swimming pool is being used to deliver a range of activities targeted specifically at women and girls over 14.
These include women-only swimming lessons, aqua fitness and mother and baby sessions. School classes are also being targeted, with every girl at Broad Oak having the opportunity to use the pool. Sessions are delivered by female-only swimming teachers.
I Will if You Will is a movement to get the women and girls of Bury moving.
With £2.3 million of National Lottery funding from Sport England and being delivered by Bury Council, this initiative is about women getting together and trying something new: doing something for themselves for a change and having a laugh while they do it.
Best practice from Bury will be used to inform strategy to help increase the number of women participating in sport across the country.
To find out the times of the sessions, or to book sessions in the mobile pool, Click Here