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17th May 2005

Hugh Robertson, MP and Shadow Sports Minister has tabled a further Early Day Motion in Parliament (11) calling on the government to take action to lift all restrictions on children swimming.  Please encourage your local MP to sign this motion and have your voice heard by the government.



13th May 2005

The Institute for Sport and Recreation Management (ISRM) confirmed at a recent meeting that there was no research, apart from anecdotal evidence from its members to support the guideline that bans young families from going swimming in public pools.  As a campaign group we have requested copies of any research/evidence that supports this guideline from the ISRM and it has failed to be delivered.  The end result of these requests has been backtracking and a final admission that previous statements are untrue.



5th April 2005

A meeting was held today by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and was chaired by Tessa Jowell, MP.  The meeting involved all bodies associated with swimming and was attended by Carolyn Warner of the Right to Swim Campaign.  It was agreed that the Health and Safety Executive would write to all local authorities to reinforce that their guidance is the definitive guidance and the only requirement by law.  Tessa Jowell recommended that Regional Sports Bodies deal with complaints from parents who were unable to access their local pools.  The Right to Swim Campaign continues to support the HSE guidance.  An independent researcher who was contacted by the Right to Swim Campaign, and attended the meeting at our request will be helping to provide data on swimming pool drownings in the UK and the affect of restrictive ratio’s on drownings in other bodies of water.  We can expect the outcome of these findings in the Autumn.  We continue to fight for the scrapping of the ISRM guidelines as they still remain unsupported by any research.



A new date has finally been agreed for our meeting with government officials and members of swimming organisations to discuss the ISRM’s child admission policy.  This meeting will be held on 5th April 2005 at 4.00 pm and will be presided over by Tessa Jowell, MP.   The result of this meeting will be available here.



11th February 2005

A meeting was held today between the ISRM, ASA, RoSPA, DCMS, HSE, Local Government Member and the Chairperson of the Right to Swim Campaign.  There was little support from these bodies for a scrapping of the one to one guidance.  However, as a campaign group we support the HSE’s guidance ‘Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools’ but we do not support the ISRM guidance which includes it’s one to one policy for under four’s.  Until such time as we see detailed research that demonstrates a need for us to change from the HSE to ISRM guidelines we will continue in our campaign.  A further meeting is being scheduled in the coming weeks.



31st January 2005

The Right to Swim Campaign Chairperson has been invited to attend a meeting with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, Institute of Sport and Recreation Management and the Health and Safety Executive on Friday 11th February to discuss making public swimming pools accessible to young families again.   FIND OUT HOW IT WENT RIGHT HERE!


26th January 2005

During Prime Minister Questions today Labour MP Kali Mountford put the following question to Mr Blair  Out of 300 deaths a year by drowning, several take place in swimming pools, the rest in reservoirs, rivers and canals such as those in Colne Valley.  There are obvious benefits from learning to swim. Will my Right Hon Friend intervene with the Institute of Swimming and Recreation Management and the Health and Safety Executive who are restricting parents’ ability to teach their children to swim, especially single parents.  Will he make sure all our children get a chance to swim?”


The Prime Ministers response was

“First of all can I say to my Hon Friend co-incidentally this was an issue raised by me when I was in Kent last week.  I have to say I think the current situation of the new guidelines have given rise to a complete nonsense because I think parents are perfectly well able to judge how they must best look after their children.  I have asked My Right Hon Friend the Culture and Sport Secretary to bring in the Institute for Sport and Recreation Management and Health and Safety Executive and see if we cannot get this situation sorted out, since I think it is causing quite unnecessary distress and concern to many parents in the country”.



13th January 2005


Right to Swim Chairperson meets Mr Tony Blair


Carolyn Warner, Chairperson of the Right to Swim Campaign was given the opportunity by the Kent Messenger Newspaper, to put a question to Mr Tony Blair in person today.  Her question was this “Given the rise in childhood obesity over the past year what are this government going to do to encourage children to be more active and how does the Prime Minister propose to accommodate this given the increase in public swimming pools banning children?”  The Prime Minister appeared unaware of this issue and our campaign group and has committed to go and look into this discrimination on our behalf.  He was made aware of our Early Day Motion no. 53 which is currently tabled in Parliament with over 80 MP’s signatures and hopefully we will hear some positive feedback soon.



7th January 2005


Maidstone Leisure Centre Propose New Timetable for Families


Maidstone Leisure Centre has proposed a new timetable for swimming to enable families to use the leisure centre again.  Customers are asked to complete a customer feedback survey and return it to Maidstone Leisure Centre by Friday 14th January (copies are available at



6th January 2005


Meeting with Dartford Council


A meeting was held with Dartford Borough Council to look at ways of allowing children to access Fairfield Swimming Pool again.  Discussions took place between Cllr Stoate, Matthew Roberts of Parkwood Leisure and representatives of the Right to Swim Campaign.  It was agreed that Parkwood Leisure and the Regeneration Manager for Dartford Council would work out a costing for a new barrier to be built separating the teaching pool and main pool or alternating the access point for the teaching pool




NEW YEAR - 2005


An EDM (Early Day Motion No 53) was tabled in Parliament by Hugh Robertson, MP Shadow Minister for Sport.  All MP’s are being encouraged to sign this EDM in support of a change to the way that the ISRM guidelines are being applied to enable parents with young families to swim.




27 October 2004


Press Release for 28 October 2004

Hugh Robertson, the Shadow Minister for Sport and MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, Julie Kirkbride, the former Shadow Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport and MP for Bromsgrove, Carolyn Warner, Chair of the Right to Swim Campaign and Margaret Creear, Director of Gingerbread will be at Dragon’s Health Club and Swimming Pool in Maidstone on Thursday 28 October at 10.30.

They will be there to highlight the campaign organised by Right to Swim against the government’s new rules on supervision of children in swimming pools.

The campaign comes as a result of the government’s decision to back recommendations from the Health and Safety Executive and the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management. These restrict the number of children an adult can take into a swimming pool to one under the age of four and two under the age of eight. This prevents children taking exercise and discriminates against larger families and lone parents.

For full details of this press release please click on Latest News on the home page.



13 September 2004


House of Commons – Questions for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport


Recently appointed Shadow Spokesman for Sport, Hugh Robertson MP questioned the Sports Minister about the guideline “which bans mothers with 2 children under 8’s using their local public pool”.  The minister for sport said that he would look into this matter.   (Full text from this parliamentary session to follow).




10 September 2004


Northern Ireland Overturn Policy


Right to Swim Co-ordinator for Northern Ireland Adrienne Bell addressed Lisburn Council’s Leisure Services Committee on 9th September regarding their introduction of the admission policy.  The council voted 6-4 to disregard the guidelines but the arrangement has still to be ratified by the full council at the end of the month and no changes will be made until then.  “All the councillors on the committee have received numerous complaints about this and personally I’ve seen people turned away from the pool and their children in tear” said Mr Craig.  “These measures were introduced in Belfast and within a few months they were reversed after the shocking and adverse reaction they received” he added.


To read the whole report from the Ulster Star click on Media Coverage.




09 September 2004


UK family holiday resorts now a no go area for young families


Centerparcs, Butlins, Alton Towers Cariba Caper introduce 1 to 1 policy for under 4’s.




26 July 2004


National Guidance on Restricted Family Swimming Lifted.


Harrogate Borough Council has relaxed their admissions policy following “a reversal of national guidelines”.  “The ISRM is now satisfied that pool operators can revert back to the previous policy of allowing two children under eight to attend a general swimming session with one responsible adult.  However, it is now insisting that non-swimmers wear armbands or similar floatation devices”.


To read Harrogate Borough Councils complete media release click of Latest News – as it breaks.