by Nichole Edsall on July 03, 2021

Royal Life Saving, in partnership with Swinburne University’s Sport Innovation Research Group and on behalf of the National Aquatic Industry Committee, has launched a Social Impact of Aquatic Facilities Survey.

If you are an Aquatic Centre Manager or Swim School Manager, Royal Life Saving need your help to complete this survey. The survey will help to tell a story to the community, government and key decision makers on the role that aquatic facilities play in improving their communities and the importance of supporting this critical industry.

Royal Life Saving has engaged Dr Emma Sherry, Dr Adam Karg and the team at Swinburne University’s Sport Innovation Research Group (SIRG) to provide an evidence base and narrative on the social impact of aquatics. In order to create this narrative, a wholistic overview of programming in aquatic facilities is needed to inform and develop an industry impact assessment which is being gathered through this survey.

The survey is focused specifically on aquatic facilities, their physical infrastructure, their programming, and their communities.

The survey is intended to be completed by the manager, or a suitable representative, for each facility who will be able to describe the unique programs and users of their facility as well as speak to key data reference points such as the number of staff employed at the facility.

The information within the survey will be analysed by the Swinburne University and RLSSA teams to identify trends, strengths and weaknesses, needs, and future opportunities that are being sought by government, industry and key agencies across the country and will be used to generate a roadmap to increasing social impact through aquatics.

The survey is anonymous but participants who choose to leave their name and email address will be eligible to win a $100 JB Hi-Fi gift voucher.  

The survey will only take 10-15 minutes to complete.

The survey closes midnight 13 July, 2021.

Click here to complete the survey

Background to the study

While sufficient physical activity and sport play key roles in both physical and mental health improvements, when it comes to government funding of sport infrastructure, funding decisions-makers are often faced with making decisions on which type of sport infrastructure to build to deliver maximum social impact within a resource-constrained environment.

When comparing business cases to invest in a football oval, a tennis court, or a swimming pool, decision-makers will be faced with all facilities having business cases citing similar physical activity benefits, increased social connection and an overall contribution to community wellbeing, however, significantly different capital and maintenance expenditures will be associated with swimming pools by comparison with other types of infrastructure.

“The local pool is a special place in most communities. No where else will you see the whole community side-by-side simultaneously enjoying the water. It’s not uncommon in one swim lane to have an infant aquatics lesson, the next an Olympic hopeful training for a race, and the next a group of older Australians doing an aqua aerobics class,” says Royal Life Saving National Manager – Aquatics, RJ Houston.

“We know anecdotally that the aquatic industry is a heavy hitter in terms of its community reach and its social impact, but we need to be informed and prepared when we go in to compete for limited resources. By completing this survey, you are actively shaping the future of our industry.”

Speaking of the partnership between Royal Life Saving and Swinburne University, Dr. Emma Sherry of the Sport Innovation Research Group had the following to say:

“Swinburne University has been working with key agencies for some time to measure and quantify the benefits and impacts of key sport sectors and activities.”

“This Social Impact of the Aquatics Industry survey will be used an enhance the profile of the aquatic industry, inform a social impact roadmap and will enable decision-making to take into account the full picture of social engagement and opportunity that can be achieved through aquatics.”

About the Sport Innovation Research Group:

CSI Swinburne was established in 2020 to contribute to Swinburne University of Technology’s mission to create social and economic impact through science, technology, and innovation. CSI Swinburne are an internationally recognised Sport Innovation research group that creates and facilitates high-quality, industry-shaping research collaboration for the benefit of both researchers and partner organisations. 

CSI Swinburne integrate research, learning and engagement to produce high-quality outputs that are dynamic, accessible and useful. Their research conducts work in two key areas: 

  • social and policy innovation in sport
  • sport consumer equity and innovation.

About Royal Life Saving:

Royal Life Saving is focused on reducing drowning and promoting healthy, active, and skilled communities through innovative, reliable, evidence-based advocacy; strong and effective partnerships; quality programs, products and services; underpinned by a cohesive and sustainable national organisation.

Royal Life Saving is a public benevolent institution (PBI) dedicated to reducing drowning and turning everyday people into everyday community lifesavers.

Royal Life Saving has long advocated for swimming and water safety lessons for all, aquatic facilities for every community and to create a water loving nation free from drowning.