Welcome to We Swim. Your role is extremely important to us, so thank you for signing up to volunteer or for simply expressing interest. Together we can make a huge difference to people’s lives.
Diversity is important to us, and we actively seek people with varied backgrounds and experiences, and ask that all our members are respectful of this. We believe a diverse club is a richer one, and have worked hard to create a safe, upbeat environment. We hope to welcome a wide range of people.
We want to work together to make it as easy as possible for people to volunteer with us, so please talk to us and tell us how we can improve.
During swim sessions
Your main responsibility is to chat with our disabled swimmers and make them feel welcome. Loneliness and isolation are very common amongst people with disabilities and this will be the highlight of the week for many of them; we want them to have a good time and make meaningful friendships.
Your role will be helping them in the water and encouraging them to swim, but you do not need to be a qualified swimming teacher or elite swimmer yourself, we will give you the training you need. You may be giving them tips on their swimming stroke or keep them company whilst they carry out the physio exercises that they have been given.
Before swimming, you will attend a one-off training session where we cover what happens in a pool session, what is expected of you, safeguarding, boundaries, health and safety.
We also run monthly sessions to expand people’s knowledge in different areas. This could be specific to individual disabilities, e.g. how to guide a blind person, or guidance from a physiotherapist on what exercises you can help people with. It is a varied agenda of training opportunities.
Most of the time no. Your role will be to chat to people, give them tips, swim alongside them, and help them do exercises. Sometimes you may be asked to support someone’s back as they float, but there are lots of people around, supporting each other. If you are not comfortable, tell us and we can help.
Swimwear (we suggest not a bikini to avoid making others feel uncomfortable), towel, toiletries, money for the locker.
We recognise that our volunteers lead busy lives, and we want to work around that. We ask that you come at least twice a month, and if you have committed to coming to a session, that you don’t pull out. We will send a monthly sign up for you to specify the dates that work best for you.
If you are not feeling well, please let us know as early as possible on the day and we will try to get a volunteer to fill your place. If not enough volunteers come, we may have to turn swimmers away, which we would like to avoid.
No. If our swimmers need help in the changing room, they will be asked to come with a carer or family member. Your role is purely in the pool and the social aspect.
Before you get into the pool, you will be given Health and Safety training during your volunteer training session. In addition, there are always lifeguards poolside, and ultimately they are responsible for our swimmers’ safety. If you have any specific concerns about a swimmer, please come to us, we are aware that an individual’s circumstances change, and we are always working with our swimmers to adapt and make it as safe for them as possible.
We are looking for people who can help run the sessions. If you are good at organising, bringing people together, recognising skills in others, reliable, have built up good relations with club members, this could be for you. It is a fantastic development opportunity for those who want a bit more from their sessions. Training will be provided for this role. Please let us know if you are interested.
Word of mouth is the best way to get fantastic volunteers, so please do spread the word. They will be more than welcome, but we will need to perform a DBS check and carry out training before they can join.
Outside swim sessions
We ask you to keep your friendships within We Swim and refrain from sharing contact details with the swimmers. This is to ensure everyone’s safety.
If a swimmer asks to swap contact details with you, please explain that you’ve been asked by the We Swim team not to give these out or to take other people’s, but that you’d love to see and spend time with them at another We Swim session soon.
Again, we ask you to keep your friendships within the swimming club and We Swim events.
If a swimmer asks if you can walk home with them, please don’t feel any pressure to do so. Feel free to politely decline or explain that you need to head to another engagement. If it’s not out of your way and you’re happy to walk home with them, let a We Swim team member know that you’re planning on doing this, and once you’ve arrived, please don’t go inside their home.
We would love your help with fundraising. Maybe you could hold an event, submit a bid, or get your corporate team involved. We are also looking to use people’s professional skills on an ad hoc basis, so maybe you could help in that way. Talk to Dan or Tash, and together we can make some suggestions.
Thank you for volunteering with We Swim. If you have any feedback or suggestions for us, please get in touch.