Like most of you, I was very happy to say goodbye to 2020. And I am feeling more positive for the year ahead.
2021 is going to be an absolutely vital year for charities. As for many in the sector, the last 12 months have been a real challenge for the Swimathon Foundation, as well as for our charity partners Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK. Both charities, like many others, have lost vital funding from their events, at a time when the need for their services and research is greater than ever. Sadly in this pandemic that need includes end of life care, the focus of Marie Curie’s wonderful and essential work.
So, for the Swimathon Foundation, 2021 is about getting back to basics – promoting all the benefits that swimming can bring and raising essential funds for charitable causes. It could be our biggest and most important year yet.
In the short term we are looking to release a second round of grants through our Covid-19 Relief Fund, adding up to another £30,000 to the £50,000 that Swimathon Foundation has already distributed to small clubs and organisations most in need. I am very pleased that we are once again supporting the swimming and aquatic community to get it back on its feet.
Last year’s Covid-19 Relief Fund is one of my proudest moments – the reaction from people who received awards was wonderful to see.
People often forget that whilst many clubs weren’t expected to pay huge overheads whilst out of the water, they lost all of their income and fundraising opportunities that come from galas or fetes, and support from the Swimathon Foundation really helped.
We will also continue to provide fantastic swimming opportunities for our loyal community of swimmers, and to help swimming develop more opportunities to swim, for the benefit for individuals, clubs and the operators who have gone above and beyond over the last 12 months.
We are hopeful for the return of our annual Swimathon event. Providing it is safe to take place, this will be a great festival of swimming and celebration of returning to a sense of normality by the summer. It will be a weekend to celebrate our swimming community and put swimming centre stage.
Our virtual Swimathon challenges will also remain - last year we adapted our MySwimathon app to give people flexibility when completing 2020’s Swimathon challenges. This was incredibly popular and I expect high take up again this year.
I am also looking forward to the return of Marathon Swims which was greatly missed in 2020.
Last year in extraordinarily difficult circumstances our wonderful swimming community stuck together and were still able to raise £1 million for vital causes.
So, here’s to 2021 – a year where the benefits of swimming will be recognised more than ever, and the Swimathon Foundation will continue to do all we can to support our beloved swimming community.
Anthony Kendal OBE
Chair of the Swimathon Foundation