Reducing the Barriers to ‘Swimming as Medicine’

Andrew Power and Kerry Watkiss from Swim England will be joined by Ben Wilkins from Good Boost, to provide an overview of some of the most recent and relevant research and insight, which is allowing the National Governing Body for Swimming in England, partnering with charitable enterprises such as Good Boost, to reduce barriers to behaviour change and providing clear pathways supporting participation in swimming and aquatic activity for people with long term health conditions and impairments


Andrew Power

Andrew has been involved in exercise referral delivery, programme management and commissioning roles for over 20 years, led on Regional ‘Health and 2012’ action plans for the North East prior to London 2012 and the implementation of ‘A Physical Activity Strategy for County Durham’, also managing a £6m investment from Public Health and Sport England supporting over 20,000 people at risk of CVD and Type 2 Diabetes to be more active in conjunction with the NHS Health Check programme. He has been involved in the skills agenda since the release of the NQAF for Exercise Referral Systems in 2001, chaired the North East Physical Activity Forum leading on programmes of CPD for the physical activity workforce and recently led on development of an Exercise for Long Term Neurological Conditions qualification for WRIGHT Foundation CIC. As Water Wellbeing Specialist at Swim England he manages the roll-out of a multi-component model of support for public and professionals (Water Wellbeing), encouraging swimming and aquatic activity for people with long term health conditions and impairments across England.

Kerry Watkiss

As Head of Insight at Swim England, Kerry leads on a number of key insight projects, primarily focused around changing the behaviour of others, such as how to encourage health care professionals to socially prescribe swimming, and how to encourage different community groups into the water. Most recently, the Insight teams work has focused on diversity and inclusion, helping to drive Swim England’s ambitions in this area. The England Swims research, to be shared in this session, looks statistically at the perceptions and barriers to swimming of those with a Long Term Health Condition who do not currently enter the water.

Ben Wilkins

Ben Wilkins is CEO of Good Boost, a social enterprise delivering digital musculoskeletal rehabilitation services in partnership with community venues and charities. Ben is a registered Osteopath with a Master’s in Osteopathy (M.Ost) from Oxford Brookes University and an MSc in Musculoskeletal Science from the University of Oxford, with publications in aqua rehabilitation and peer-led MSK community services. He’s an MSK Clinical Champion for Versus Arthritis, Chair of the MSK Expert Group for the World Health Innovation Summit (WHIS) and a fellow of the Royal Society of Art. Ben is a trustee of Healthwatch Merton, with a focus on social prescribing, and completing a fellowship investigating the role of gamification on motivation and behaviour change for older adult MSK rehabilitation.

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