Deaf News: £160,000 boost set to help deaf children learn to swim

Posted on September 9, 2014

Deaf children will have more opportunities to take up swimming, after a leading deaf children’s charity received £160,000 of funding from Sport England’s Inclusive Sport Fund.

The National Deaf Children’s Society’s Deaf-Friendly Swimming Project is a three year programme that will work with swimming clubs, swim schools, leisure centres and local authorities to deliver swimming programmes, specifically aimed at fully including deaf children and young people.

Swimming is one of the sports deaf children say they most want to take part in, however hearing assistive technology such as hearing aids, must be removed.

This combined with a noisy swimming pool environment and the need to understand coaches from a distance, can make swimming extremely difficult for deaf children and young people.

Thomas Lyons, Sports Projects Manager at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have received funding from Sport England. Too many deaf young people are being denied the opportunity to swim because many swimming providers don’t know how to meet their needs. Not only is swimming a life-saving skill, great fun and fantastic for building confidence, the ability to swim opens up a whole world of water-based activities, such as scuba diving, rowing, surfing and sailing.

“Our resources and workshops will show swimming providers that by making small and simple changes to swimming activities, such as using visual aids, swimming teachers and coaches can ensure that deaf young people have the same access to swimming as their hearing peers.”

The Deaf-Friendly Swimming Project is one of 44 schemes across England benefitting from Sport England funding. It is hoped the funding will create more opportunities for disabled people to play sport.

Sport England Director of Insight, Lisa O’Keefe, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the National Deaf Children’s Society and provide more opportunities for deaf children to give sport a go. Record numbers of disabled people now play sport and it’s thanks to organisations like this that we can continue to increase opportunities and make a real difference in communities.”

For more information regarding the Deaf-Friendly Swimming Project, visit email

Photo by Jim Bahn

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