It’s been a big week for Hart Swimming Club. On Sunday evening, Hart SC held its Annual General Meeting (AGM), this provided a moment of reflection over the past year for the club and a look forward to its future. Despite the current challenge of lockdown putting a temporary pause on club training activities, there was lots of positive news delivered to attendees and lots of optimism for the future.
The COVID19 Lockdown’s of 2020 have been an ongoing struggle for many volunteer led groups across the region. However, Hart Swimming Club has recently been recognized for its contribution to the local community during 2020.
Attendees of the AGM found out that Hart Swimming Club has been nominated for a Queen’s Award. A Queens Award is an MBE for Volunteer led Groups. The Queens Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their communities. The nomination is sponsored by our local MP Ranil Jayawardena and ex Olympian, Duncan Goodhew, MBE.
Delivering news of the nomination, Chairman, Spencer Farmer said “We are utterly thrilled that we have been nominated for a Queens Award. To be nominated alone is an incredible achievement. This nomination is for the 100+ volunteers that enable Hart Swimming Club to operate on a daily basis; from the volunteer judges & officials, open meet / gala volunteers, the committee with the activities put on during lockdown and recently our army of 75 volunteer COVID officers who have helped our swimmers return to swimming in a safe and structured way.”
Across a single year, Hart Swimming Club volunteers clock up over 13,500 hours of volunteer time! That is the equivalent of 8 full time staff working around the clock all year long.
Since returning to swimming in August, the COVID officers, which help ensure Track and Trace and safe operating procedures are adhered to at all training sessions, have clocked up over 600 volunteer hours alone to enable swimmers to get back into the pool.
Marketing Officer, Tony Clark said “It’s amazing that our lockdown activities with swimmers during the current and previous lockdown have been recognized. Its brilliant that our Olympic Speaker Education series of talks we put on for the swimmers where so well received. It’s a once in a lifetime chance for our swimmers to be able to speak to the likes of Sharron Davies, Duncan Goodhew, James Guy and many more! We ran some amazing competitions across the wider community and internally in the club, put on some brilliant exercise routines to keep the kids healthy and raised some much-needed funds for Frimley Park Health Trust as well. Not forgetting the efforts given to enable a new COVID Safe operating procedure with Everyone Active to ensure our safe return to the pool. We are super grateful to our nominators and we are so so proud of our army of volunteers! It’s because of them that we all belong to such a fantastic, family-oriented swimming club and it’s because of them that our swimmers will be able to return to swimming safely once the current lockdown is finished!
We now have a long wait to find out if we are winners! June 2nd 2021!”
In addition to the Queen’s Award Nomination, it was also announced at the AGM that Hart Swimming Club have also been shortlisted as a finalist for the Inspire Business Awards 2020.
Spencer had this to say “The committee is absolutely honored that Hart SC has been recognised for the activities taken to keep the club alive during COVID lockdown, keep our not-for-profit status whilst ensuring the survival of the swimming club. Thank you again for our nomination and selection as a Finalist! So much work went in to ensure the club has been able to survive and continue to serve the local community in providing a competitive swimming club for future generation of children. Fingers crossed for the 3rd of December Awards Virtual Ceremony!”
Since England entered it’s second national lockdown, Hart Swimming Club once again picked up where they left off from the first national lockdown. A range of activities has been offered to all members including Squad Zoom calls, coaches 1-2-1 feedback, competitions, Children in Need fundraisers and the club has been fortunate enough to enlist the services of former Double Olympian and Double Commonwealth Champion, Chris Cook to do a talk to all members of the club on his career, winning mindset and motivation. I’m sure the committee has more surprises up their sleeves!
Coach Darren Buchan said “As with the first lockdown, the priority of the swimming club is to help maintain the mental and physical health and wellbeing of all our members. Children, teenager and adult master swimmers alike. Engagement with our membership is key and we hope we can help all our families get through this second lockdown. Its also wonderful that our army of volunteers have been honoured by being nominated for two fantastic awards, they put in so much time and energy, we wouldn’t have a swimming club without them!”.
The winners of the Inspire Business Awards are announced on 3rd December and we find out in June 2021 if Hart Swimming Club has been successful in winning a coveted Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Congratulations to all involved!