There is many a cynical person out there who will tell you there is no such thing as a selfless good deed - one always get something back in return and this is particularly true when it comes to profit-making business and the matter of sport sponsorship. Big brands like successful teams, triumphant sportspeople and televised events and this age-old partnership works from grassroots sports and local business all the way up to Santander and Jessica Ennis-Hill.
However, sometimes there is a story of a sporting sponsorship that will warm your heart in its genuine wish to benefit a specific group of people who have no say, no involvement and no clue about the deal being done! One such project is Live Active Leisure’s Swim Success programme which has come to the end of a successful first year with plans already in place to extend the support network for non-swimming children in the area. Launched in April 2016, the scheme replaced the Scottish Government's ‘Top Up Swimming Lessons’ programme when the funding came to an end. The programme had been set up originally to help kids who couldn't swim by the end of primary school by providing additional lessons at weekends or in holidays. Once the funding stopped, local sports and fitness trusts such as LAL had no way of making up the shortfall and helping the kids reach potentially lifesaving milestone.
Here in Perthshire and Kinross however, our local trust got to thinking outside the box!
LAL launched their own version of the programme, called Swim Success, which follows the Scottish Swimming Triple S standard, in partnership with local independent business, Perthshire Flooring and together they continued to fund the children who required just that little bit more time in the pool.
Perthshire Flooring is owned by husband and wife team, Garry and Julie Cumming who have now made the commitment to sponsor the programme for a second year between April 2017 and March 2018. Many people reading this will recognise Julie from her other job... a casual instructor with LAL who is well known for motivating even the most lucklustre of participants into enjoying her high energy fitness classes. Julie is passionate about fitness and health and was first in line to back the LAL programme when it launched last year:
She commented, “We have been thrilled to be involved in such a forward thinking programme and as both business owners in the area and parents ourselves, we feel this offers a great opportunity to give something back to our customers and the people of Perth and Kinross. We’re delighted to be supporting Live Active Leisure for another year and look forward to seeing even more great results.”
The sponsorship provided by Perthshire Flooring provided an additional block of free swimming lessons out-with school hours and resulted in an additional 68 children of primary school age taking up the offer. Those completing the block can now swim to Scottish Swimming Triple S Standard or have improved their confidence in water. As well as this, all participants were given a Live Active Card, free swimming sessions for their family, information and advice.
As well as ensuring LAL can continue to support children and families who require additional help with the essential life skill of swimming for another year, this new partnership will also see parents and nursery aged children being targeted as part of LAL’s Active Beginnings programme to allow early interaction and encouragement to start swimming from a young age.
Gill McShea, Partnership and Funding Manager for LAL commented, “Julie is so passionate about exercise and has become a proactive ambassador for the Swim Success programme as well as a funding partner. To be in a position to continue to further support primary school aged children who cannot swim 25 metres is fantastic.”