Bishop’s Stortford Swimming Club is a friendly and inclusive competitive swimming club, that has been part of the local community since 1884. We have taught thousands of local children across Hertfordshire and Essex the fundamental life skill of swimming and nurtured the enjoyment and love for swimming that those early lessons instil in our competitive club members, as they continue their swimming careers. Having been part of the local community for so long, we hope to continue to provide opportunities for many years to come.
We are a not for profit club that is fully self-funded through our members monthly fees and our Learn to Swim school. Currently we have approximately 160 competitive club members ranging from 8 to 60+ years and 150 swimmers following the Swim England Learn to Swim framework. We support swimmers from grassroots level through to County, Regional, National, and International level achievements. Around 20% of our members are part of our Masters (over 18s) squad, most of whom swim for fitness and fun, but some are still competing at National and European levels. We offer all our members the opportunity to learn commitment and dedication, build relationships and have fun with friends, whilst keeping fit and active in a safe environment.
As a club we stopped training on the 18th March 2020 and locked down, cancelling our Spring Open Meet due to run on 20/21 March (one of our biggest annual fundraisers!), leaving our pool and the friendships and sport that we love. Swimming offers so much more than just a life-saving skill or fitness opportunity, it provides an enormous boost to mental health and wellbeing and equips our swimmers with confidence and other important attributes such as perseverance, hard work and commitment. For some of our children it can be one area of their life they are successful in if school can be a challenge and for all our members, it provides an invaluable outlet. Can you imagine the impact that lockdown has had on our swimmers?
We are a volunteer run club and simply don't have the financial reserves needed to see us through a crisis of this ongoing duration. With multiple Open meets and internal events such as Club Championships cancelled, we’ve lost £11,000 of expected income. All surplus from our learn to swim lessons (circa 300 regular attendees pre Covid) is normally reinvested back into the club to help support our competitive club members, but we paused our Spring term, cancelled our Summer term and although we are currently running an Autumn term, we have HALF the number of swimmers returning AND as we launch this campaign another 4-week lockdown is just being announced. During the lockdown period that started mid-March, many families were unable to continue to pay the monthly subscriptions due to the financial consequences of Covid, and we allowed members to reduce their fees or cease payment entirely.
Now that we are trying to emerge and return our swimmers back to doing what they love as soon as possible, new Covid-19 restrictions on social distancing, limited pool time and closure of one of our Learn to Swim pools mean that our running expenses are exceeding our income every month. Bank reserves will only last for a while and like many clubs we face closure if we cannot raise funds to see us though this unprecedented time. The lockdown announcement coming as we launch this campaign on 31st October is too new for us to fully process yet, but it can only have more of a detrimental effect on our swimmers and our precarious financial situation.
Through their Active Together campaign, Sport England have agreed to contribute 50% of our £10k target if we raise the other 50% through at least 50 separate donations. This means that any donations given via Crowdfunder can make an even bigger difference to our club and our swimmers – so please do help us if you can!
Our club has been helping children learn to swim and compete since 1884 and we need your help so we can keep doing this for many more years!
We aspire to inspire our swimmers new and old. To give young children, adults and masters a chance to join a swimming club; to have fun, enjoy competing and benefit physically and emotionally from this rewarding sport.
Initially, we just want to keep financially afloat and keep everyone swimming (when allowed!), by maintaining our amazing coaching staff, providing enough pool time for all squad members to train as close as possible to pre-Covid levels, and allowing our learn to swim school to provide lessons in a Covid secure manner.
Our swimmers are keen to compete again, once Swim England guidelines allow, and we want to be in a position to prepare our swimmers by providing them with every opportunity to develop their skills and maximise their potential at the highest level of Local, County, Regional, National and International championships.
We also want to build back up the reserves of the club so it can continue to support young people well into the future. Prior to lockdown we had plans to further promote our Learn to Swim programme; develop opportunities for younger swimmers still within the LTS framework to experience galas; offer holiday skills sessions; and expand our swim training camps to younger squads. Your donation will give us the opportunity to kick start these projects into reality.
Thank you for any support you can give to #KeepStortfordSwimming !
For our club swimmers who usually train with their friends up to 6 days per week, being unable to meet and train together for the 167 days of pool lockdown has been extremely difficult. They may well be rivals in the pool on race day, but poolside, the camaraderie helps develop lasting friendships. Covid-19 separated friends and teams, and we lost opportunities to maintain our health and fitness together face to face. Through some amazing parent volunteers and coaches freely offering their time, our #BSSCStayAtHome program kicked in quickly, offering daily land training sets through our newly created web based virtual resources hub, weekly zoom based fitness, pilates and boxing sessions, group baking sessions and much more.
Fitness challenges such as Bring Sally Up and our Run/Cycle nominate challenge kept swimmers engaged and brought whole families together, whilst running and cycling Strava groups kept an element of competition alive especially among our Masters.
Through the whole of lockdown we tried to keep our members engaged, active and motivated, but to be honest, they just wanted to be around water doing what they do best, and who could blame them?!
Once lockdown started to ease and outdoor small-group training was permitted, we were able to get many of our members together to provide training on land in a secure environment. It was great to see them rekindling friendships, in a Covid secure manner of course, and enjoying being back with their squads.
Unfortunately though, for our members, nothing but the comforting smell of chlorine will do, so it will be so tough watching us head back into lockdown even just for a four week period.
Pre-lockdown we had just completed a successful Hertfordshire County Championships and we were looking forward to the rest of the season. We had Elite swimmers training for April’s British Championships, Masters training for the 17th LEN European Masters Championships, our Team GB athletes training for the ETU Aquathlon European Championships, an Easter swim camp all booked with Swim Portugal hoodies printed, our younger swimmers improving PBs and chasing times for Regionals and Summer Championships, whilst our 3 and 4 year olds were taking their first strokes. However, when the Covid-19 lockdown started, all the pool facilities which we use closed and it all switched to absolutely nothing.
We are so proud of the many achievements our swimmers make at all levels. In the last few seasons we have had:
- medallists in the British Swimming Summer Championships, Swim England Summer and Winter Championships, Swim England East Region and Swim England Hertfordshire County championships
- Masters swimmers breaking National and European records and medalling in World, European and National Championships and the National Transplant Games
- swimmers representing Team GB in European Aquathlon events
- juniors, seniors and Masters swimmers representing Hertfordshire in Intercounty and National team championships and school championships
- BSSC teams maintaining positions in the top divisions of the National Arena Swimming League and the Hertfordshire Swimming Peanuts League
- emerging talent taking part in Swim England National, Regional and County Talent Pathway Programmes
- swimmers taking part in the Swim England Diploma in Sporting Excellence program, including swimming in Dubai
- and swimmers gaining scholarships for universities.
Every achievement is important to us, from an improvement in training and mastering of a technique that proved difficult, right through to those performed on a National or International scale.
Whilst there are no dates yet for our return to competitive swimming events, we were getting very excited about the virtual Level X competition that Swim England have just launched. We had planned that Friday nights would be race nights between 6th November and Christmas, but the announcements of 31st October have forced some changes. We plan to get one Level X night in before the new lockdown starts, but we will bounce back with Level X racing as soon as we are allowed so members, please buy those Level X credit rewards!
As we attempt to return to some level of normality and try to find the resilience to face another lockdown, it is really important to us that, as a local community based club, all our members are supported to keep swimming where possible and stay connected and in doing so, retain their friendship bonds with squad mates through these difficult times.
As soon as Covid allows, we want to see more of this ...
If you’re not able to contribute with a pledge, but would love to support us in other ways please help us get the word out! Shout about our #KeepStortfordSwimming campaign on Facebook BSSwimClub1, twitter @BSSwimClub1 and Instagram bsscswimmingclub. WhatsApp the link and talk to your friends and family and forward the email to your colleagues and bosses (Corporate donations are gratefully received!).
Please do get in touch if you are able to offer a reward or have any reward ideas that aren't currently on here.
We are so pleased that that local company Animal Tracker have chosen to support us through one of our Corporate Sponsorship Awards. Find out more below and on their website animaltracker.co.uk/
Every year more than 300,000 animals go astray in the UK alone. Most of them cannot be returned home because their owners cannot be identified. Microchipping is the most effective way of identifying a lost pet, as they don't fall off like collars can. Animal Tracker are a DEFRA-approved and fully compliant pet microchip database, designed to make the registration of animal microchips as easy and seamless as possible for implanters, breeders, and pet owners. Through the operation of a 24/7 lost and found helpline and a fully integrated look-up tool, we help runaways to get home safely.
Terms and conditions for the raffle draws listed above are as follows: winning entries from each raffle will be chosen at random by a nominated BSSC committee member once the fund has been closed; there are no cash prize equivalents for any of the prizes; details of the raffles for pledges of £5+, including prizes will be circulated later and posted as Updates.
THANK YOU – we really do appreciate that we are all living through immensely difficult times and would like to take this opportunity to give a HUGE thanks to everyone that supports BSSC and our #swimfamily.