Building on Team GB’s swimming success

Team GB won eight Olympic swimming medals last week at Tokyo 2020. But did you know that one-in-three children in England still can’t swim?

Meanwhile, while Duncan Scott, Adam Peaty, Kathleen Dawson and Anna Hopkin led a gold rush in the pool, the UK was experiencing one of its worst ever weeks for lake and river drownings.

Here at Box Architects, we’re proud to be working with the Sporting House Group to get more people swimming by creating affordable and sustainable pools – saving lives, increasing wellbeing and helping to produce Olympic champions of the future.

  • 84% of children from affluent families can swim 25m, but only 41% from the least affluent families (Sport England, 2021)
  • 1.4 million swimmers show reduced anxiety, and 2 million young swimmers ‘feel happier (Value of Swimming, Swim England, 2021)

Swimming is the fifth most popular physical activity in the UK according to Sport England, while learning to swim is on the National Curriculum. However, there’s a big gulf in ability between children from affluent families and the least well-off. There are also concerns that many swimming pools are old and too expensive to maintain – and simply won’t re-open after lockdown. What can be done?

The challenge to get more children swimming

After London 2012, Olympic swimmers Steve Parry and Adrian Turner toured the UK with temporary pools from the athletes’ village to teach children to swim. Since then, they’ve been creating their own swimming facilities as well as affordable pools for local authorities under their ReCreation banner… which is where Box Architects have helped.

Box Architects and ReCreation have worked in partnership to develop a winning concept that delivers swimming pools and bespoke public leisure buildings for communities across the UK at a fraction of the cost of traditional facilities. As well as being more cost-effective, modern methods of construction (MMC) ensure a much quicker design, development and construction process with projects manufactured off-site. Building above ground means less underground pipework and easier maintenance, while input to community heating systems can bring environmental and sustainability benefits.

“In our mission to break down barriers for kids to reach their true potential, we wanted to develop an entire pool facility above ground that would be faster and more affordable to build. Working with Box Architects, we’ve designed a solution that hits speed and affordability goals, realises social and economic benefits, and creates destinations for communities to be proud of.”

Adrian Turner, Co-founder and Director of Developments, ReCreation

The Sporting House Group is an Olympic-led group of companies that removes barriers to get children active. The group includes Total Swimming Academies, Becky Adlington’s Swim Stars, swim! and Beth Tweddle Gymnastics, as well as ReCreation. Box Architects have collaborated on multiple projects, including facilities in Warrington, Oldham, Sheffield, Andover, Dagenham, Havering, Newark & Sherwood and Bolton.

“It’s an exciting journey. We’ve used our specialist MMC design skills to create a modular approach that can be adapted and repeated. As a practice, we’re committed to developing MMC thinking and promoting our Healthy Practice approach, so our collaboration with ReCreation couldn’t be better.”

Graham Place, CEO, Box Architects