Summary of points raised at WASC Parents’ Meeting 3.9.18
The format of this meeting was an open forum, so please note that official minutes were not taken and this is just (hopefully) a summary of the main points raised and answers given. If any one wishes to discuss any of the content please contact myself, Sarah Coleman at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tone at: email@example.com
After listening to parents’ views and feedback we will be aiming to run a parents meeting on a quarterly basis, so the next one will be on 14th January 2019. We will be holding our AGM on 27th November 2018 which all are invited to attend and if you have ANY concerns or issues in the meantime, please direct them directly to Tone on the email above or if you feel it’s a child welfare issue directly to our welfare officer Helen Burton at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tone Phillips, Club Chair and Head Coach ran the meeting, supported by Sarah Coleman(Club Sec) and other committee members within the room.
For the purpose of these notes P=Parent question or issue raised, A=Answer given by Tone or other committee member.
P. What has money raised over the last year from fund raising events/activities been spent on?
A. We will be looking to purchase new Finns, floats, and hand paddles very soon, which can be used by all club swimmers. Coaches are also looking at the possibility of the benefit of purchasing a swim bench, which can be used for strength training and to aid those swimmers with injuries. (All to be discussed further at next committee meeting on 5th September.) We have also put on and paid for the summer BBQ/team building day recently held at the rugby club. Plus this coming weekend a group of swimmers and parents will be heading to London to take part in a training day at the Olympic pool. We also have to keep a surplus amount in our account to cover emergency pool hire, and try to keep the balance at around the amount to cover 3 months pool hire. Parents are invited to let us know if they wish to make suggestions for items to buy or how money is spent, which will be discussed at committee meetings.
P. There has been talk in the past of land training but none has been arranged yet?
A. We have had delays arranging due to not being able to book appropriate space at the sports centre which will run in line with existing club sessions. It is still on club/coaches agenda and we hope to start mid Oct/early Nov after club champs.
P. With regards to land training can the older swimmers not just arrive 10-15 minutes early to sessions to do their own stretches poolside? If they start doing, younger ones will see and follow.
A. If swimmers wish to arrive slightly early to sessions to stretch pool side they may, but until they have had specific land training they do so at their own risk and must not advise other swimmers what to do.
P. Can I ask what the criteria is for non-masters swimmers to swim in the masters session on a Sunday and how current swimmers doing so were picked to do so?
A. When the Sunday session times changed earlier this year it was to cut down on coaches time on a Sunday as the Masters session in particular at time was fairly quiet and not cost effective for the club. Because of the changes some swimmers lost out on swim time on a Sunday compared to previously, so spaces were offered for those swimmers in lane 1 initially, but on the understanding that they may have to stop swimming in that session if the number of masters attending Sundays increased. This applied to mainly the older group of children generally swimming in lane 1, and is due to be reviewed soon as some of them go off to University in the next couple of months.
P. Some of the children/younger swimmers would like to have a say in what happens in the club, but don’t always feel comfortable coming to adult meetings or approaching adults within the club. Can the children have their own meetings or feedback via a youth representative?
A. We have always had a girl and boy captain/vice captain. This has always been how the children have been represented in the past. Over recent months this may have not been that visible within the club and will be revisited. Existing captains are due to go to university so new ones will be appointed and we will look at a way the children can vote for their own captains and how they wish to feedback via them in future and communicate out before or at the AGM in November.
P. Are there any & are we going to attend long distance events in future as a club, i.e. 400M, 800M?
A. There are set long distance open meets which run in each region every year and it is something which we will look into more for next year. (None left to run this year, county competitions will run January – March 2019, 2019 open meets will run April – December 2019.)
P. It would be good to know more in advance about open meets and what is available.
A. As a club we will continue to choose which ones we hope to attend each year and communicate out to parents/swimmers as soon as this has been decided. All open meets and events are listed on the swimmingresults.org site. You just select the region you are in and level of open meet you wish to swim in for a full list for the year. (If you are new to competitive swimming/open meets please ask coaches for any help or guidance needed as it can be quite a minefield to understand to begin with.)
P. As a club will we be looking to have more of a link with Team Bath in the future? What is the official line from the club with regards to Warminster swimmers who have chosen to go and swim at Bath or wish to do so in the future?
A. The official line is that as a club we would not wish to stop any swimmer wishing to try out for Team Bath or to progress their swimming. However as a club we have experienced problems with Team Bath and communications with them in the past which has made us more cautious this time round. We understand that they have made lots of changes recently and therefore if our club swimmers wish to independently go and trial to swim there that is fine. We would however expect parents to let the coaching team know that children are doing so out of courtesy.
We would also expect to see Bath make an effort to have better communication with us as a club in the future and will look into whether we feel it will benefit our swimmers to be affiliated with them once we have gained our SwimMark accreditation. i.e. better coaching/facilities etc.
(P. Several parents then commented on how good our club coaches are now and should not put themselves down, that the level of success from our club swimmers is evident at open meets attended and gala’s throughout the year. A point was raised to ask if we could pay more coaches to encourage people to coach, but this has been discussed and it’s not really viable or hopefully needed for us as a club at present.)
Parents thanked for kind comments and support and we acknowledged that we are constantly growing and request was made if anyone was interested in training to coach to let us know – which resulted in 3 parents volunteering to train and we have one already waiting for a course, so potentially 4 new coaches to join the team next year.
P. Why are we not Swim Mark accredited, why did we let it lapse and why were parents/members not informed, as it means members are missing out on courses etc?
(Another parent then asked what SwimMark is?)
A. SwimMark (formerly known as Swim21) is a recognised accreditation within the swim community which shows a clubs commitment to adhering to all Swim England regulations and best practices.
- The official answer is “SwimMark accreditation is Swim England’s quality standard for clubs. It recognises high standards of governance, sustainability and effectiveness. Any affiliated Swim England Club can apply for accreditation, regardless of your club’s size or the disciplines you deliver.”
- As a club we are not currently SwimMark accredited. The accreditation requires the club to have a SwimMark representative who is responsible for ensuring that we have submitted all the correct evidence to gain the accreditation in the first place and then to ensure we keep on top of any updates and changes within SwimMark to keep the accreditation. Between 2015/2016 with the loss of key committee members we failed to keep up to date and then lost our accreditation. It is something that has been on the clubs agenda to regain over the last year, but we still do not have a designated SwimMark representative and existing committee members have been working together to gradually pull together what is needed. We have completed lots of work towards it now, and aim to start submitting evidence over the next month. The length of time it takes to be given the accreditation is slightly out of our hands as we have to then wait for each section’s criteria to be meet and signed off.(There are 16 sections of criteria in total.) But we hope to have regained the accreditation early in 2019.
- As for our members missing out because we are not a SwimMark club, we still offer the same level of coaching and support as other SwimMark clubs in the area and that we will continue to offer once accredited, we just have to get the piece of paper to prove it.
- There is only one course that we are aware of which was open to SwimMark only clubs within our region, which meant we could not send any of our members to be part of the Young Volunteer Programme, which is a new regional group set up for children 15 years old (or current Yr 10 at school) to 21 years old, to encourage training and coaching to start early and helping with clubs progression planning. However, I believe the first year the volunteers mainly train to become timekeepers and spend time timekeeping at events within their region to gain experience, which is something we have already offered to our club members aged 14 and over. Our members can also join the programme each year as spaces allow.
P. Several parents raised points about communication, requesting it was better, that the ‘Club notice Board’ at the sports centre is used more, email are sent as well as Facebook, and/or we send out regular newsletters. To be kept up to date and transparency from the club in general.
A. As explained at the meeting our committee are a group of volunteers and we do our best and give as much free time as we can to the club, around our own jobs and family life. We accept that sometimes things are missed by a member if a note has only been posted on Facebook and not also put on the club notice board, or a letter has been given out at club over a period of time but we occasionally still miss someone, and will look to rectify this for the future as best we can. Emails are now not so easy to send with new GDPR rules, and a newsletter would be great if someone would like to commit the time to writing one? (Please approach us if you wish to help.)
We will continue to post club updates and information on Facebook. Going forward with immediate effect we will ensure all club information, copy of important posts on Facebook, open meets we intend to attend, minutes/notes from parents’ meetings, quarterly updates etc are also uploaded straight onto our club website so all in one place and for all to see. A note will be posted on Facebook and the notice board to let you know to check the website for updates each time.
Thank you to everyone who attended the meeting and for all the feedback and positive comments and offers of help or support. If you would like to offer your help, advice or support in any way to the club please do let us know.
Lastly, good luck to our squad swimmers on the 15th September in Swindon in the summer league final, to our Masters squad swimmers on the 29th September in Salisbury, and to Ed, Aleasha and Lauren off to University in September, and here’s to continued growth and success for our wonderful club in 2019!
We look forward to seeing you all at the club’s AGM on 27th November and presentation evening on 30th November. Further details to follow.