For many Sports Governing Bodies (SGBs) in Scotland, sponsorship creates an opportunity to broaden the reach of the sport and stimulate growth. This is no different for Scottish Swimming.
However, for Scottish Swimming, sponsorship is not just about short-term access to resources or skills … they are looking for long-term opportunities.
Helen Plank, head of marketing, says: “For us, sponsorship is more about partnerships – we look for longer-term relationships built on a natural fit with the organisation and shared goals to positively impact on quality and behaviour.
“This is the foundation for Scottish Swimming’s partnership with Scottish Water, who support our National Learn to Swim Framework.”
Scottish Swimming have a clear idea of what they are looking for in a sponsorship partner. For them, it is about selecting partners who have shared ethical values and seem a “natural fit” for the organisation.
Learn to Swim
Swimming has a unique sporting opportunity in that it is a sport which is accessible at all ages, from a new-born up to 100 years old. Everyone can enjoy the water. However, with 40% of children unable to swim by the time they leave primary school, Scottish Swimming recognise the need to maintain and grow a strong grassroots offering.
To assist in the growth, Scottish Swimming partnered with Scottish Water to roll out the “National Learn to Swim Framework” to Leisure Trusts and aquatic providers who deliver the programme across Scotland. The Framework will help 100,000 children to become confident swimmers, highlighting the importance of swimming from an early age.
Helen Plank added: “Our work with Leisure Trusts and aquatic providers across Scotland is helping to raise the quality of swimming lessons and opportunities across Scotland.
“It has been great to have Scottish Water as part of this journey. The partnership has grown from an initial one-year adult participation programme (Swim Social) to becoming Scottish Swimming’s longest partnership.”
With the success of the Swim Social programme promoting recreational swimming for adults, both Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water felt there was an opportunity to have an even greater positive impact on the grassroots level of swimming when working together.
From this, a longer-term vision was created and the partnership was established for three years, enough time to effect change and roll out the national framework across Scotland.
Sponsoring your future
Like all good relationships, a sponsorship partnership can take time and effort to curate. However, Scottish Swimming believe it’s worth the effort.
Helen adds: “Working with partners takes effort and creativity, which can be challenging for small organisations with limited resource, but this is sometimes where sponsors can help to initiate, create and share content which provides positive outcomes for everyone involved.”
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