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SWIMMING

IAN WATTS / WATERBABIES

clients on waiting lists – over 60,000 – than we do in classes. This move will enable us to offer our classes to more people. The doors of our Xi’an centre opened in June and already we’re already approaching 300 clients.” Managing director of Water Babies Steve Franks believes the new facilities venture will have a huge impact on the state of swimming in the UK.

 Water Babies’ plan to build its own pools could transform the UK’s swimming sector

“By building new pools and putting baby and toddler swimming centres on the high street, we can enable more children in their early years to learn life-saving skills in a fun environment and put them on a pathway towards regular physical activity.”

PEOPLE AND PASSION

“There’s a decreasing stock of swimming pool facilities

The plans don’t end there for Water Babies. Paul and

in the UK and we’re aiming to reverse that trend,” he said.

the team have big goals for the business and they

“We’re working with internationally-renowned architects

intend to see them through to reality. Their strategic

and also with retail psychologists to deliver a premium

plan includes centres being rolled out across the UK and

aquatic experience for our customers.

internationally and – in the future – the creation of an

“Building new facilities will not only make a massive difference to our network of franchise businesses which are dependent on hiring pools, but it will also change

academy, a new HQ and a training centre. Paul credits Water Babies’ enormous success to two things – people and passion.

swimming in the UK. We’re as alarmed as anyone that

“We are a very people-focused company – we have

only half of primary school-aged children can swim 25

created an environment where everyone knows they can

metres unaided and that obesity levels are rising,” he says.

succeed and contribute. Everyone genuinely believes in what we do and cares about it. Which leads us to passion – it is literally everywhere in the company, we are all incredibly passionate about what we do and this seeps all the way down to our little ones in the pool.” At the heart of the Water Babies programme is the ethos of “teaching you to teach your baby to swim,” says Paul. “We strongly believe that every child should be able to swim because it is such an important life skill, as well as a lot of fun.” ●

 Water Babies was awarded 2016 Franchisor of the Year by the British Franchise Association

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Sports Management November/December 2016 issue 128  

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Sports Management November/December 2016 issue 128  

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