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Establishing the decline in ASA Active People figures amongst women Amy Esser, Alex Oliver & Sophie Stringer 4 th May 2011 Debrief presentation.

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Presentation on theme: "Establishing the decline in ASA Active People figures amongst women Amy Esser, Alex Oliver & Sophie Stringer 4 th May 2011 Debrief presentation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Establishing the decline in ASA Active People figures amongst women Amy Esser, Alex Oliver & Sophie Stringer 4 th May 2011 Debrief presentation

2 Contents  Background and objectives  Methodology and sample  Context to swimming in today’s world  Reasons for decline  Addressing the issues: potential interventions  Communications and marketing  Re-cap and final thoughts

3 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 2 Background & Objectives

4 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 3 Background Swimming is the number one participation sport, with over 20m people swimming every year. Recently, there has been a decline, apparently caused by the rapid drop out of women from the sport.  Active People survey figures show a rapid decline in participation in swimming  The most significant rapid declines are being caused by women dropping out, with male participation figures increasing, albeit on a smaller percentage basis  ASA would like to understand why this is happening. The ASA wishes to conduct research to ascertain why the ASA Active People figures in women’s participation in swimming are in decline

5 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 4 Objectives 1.Identification of reasons why women don’t swim once a week Reasons for their disengagement in aquatic exercise Community access to pools Knowledge of pool programme Knowledge of effects of swimming on health and lifestyle 2.Identification of why women don’t prioritise swimming List of reasons for and against participation Identification of key motivators 3.Identification of gaps/blockages which prevent participation and increased participation Available opportunities Perceived barriers Key strategic and local relationships that might impact on participation 4.Development of some case studies Taking examples which can be used across the sector with internal and external partners 5.Testing some key ASA interventions /products designed to enhance participation in aquatic activity Overall the research will seek to understand:  Why those women who did swim once a week now only swim once a month  Why those women who swam once a month now don’t swim at all  Why those who have expressed a desire to swim, if they were going to participate in any form of physical exercise, haven’t taken up swimming yet. Insight and clear recommendations to explain why women who once participated now choose not to swim Specifically, this research project should address the following questions:

6 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 5 Methodology & Sample

7 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 6 A mixed methodology with a longitudinal dimension  All Females, BC1C2  Two locations: Dacorum (Herts) and Bury (Manchester)  Mix of lapsed swimmers (used to swim at least once a month but now doesn’t swim at all) and declined swimmers (used to swim at least once a week but now swims once a month) NB: All group and depth participants completed a text follow up two weeks later to check research impact on swimming activity * Activity task consisted of a 30 minute phone interview followed by the placement and completion of a task to try swimming again Activity Task* (longer lapsed) ScrapbookPaired depth (1.5 hours) Mini group (6 in each) (2 hours) 16-19yrs (Chloe) 342 (1x declined, 1x lapsed) - 20-34yrs (Chloe & Helena) 26-2 (1x declined, 1x lapsed) 35-45yrs (Jackie & Alison) 36-2 (1x declined, 1x lapsed) Time A total sample of 52 respondents

8 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 7 Context to swimming in today’s world

9 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 8 There may be a decline in participation but the good news is that swimming, as a sport itself, is not the issue So why are women swimming less? Good for emotional wellbeing Relaxing All over workout Good for joints Tones all your muscles There are lots of things to like about swimming and it is well known for its health benefits You can do bums and tums classes but come out with flabby arms, but swimming does everything. 35-45 yrs, Herts

10 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 9 In consumer’s words – reasons for liking swimming: Extracts taken from respondent scrapbook tasks

11 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 10 Key changes and societal shifts over the last few years appear to be playing a role in affecting the uptake of swimming  The recession has had an impact on affordability, available time and shifting priorities  Infrastructure changes have occurred in terms of access to and number of public facilities & funding  There is now greater pressure to look good fuelled by media hype and celebrity aspiration  Invention of new modern and innovative activities have come to the fore, e.g. Zumba  Swimming is costly/ an unnecessary expense  Swimming is less of a priority  There is less available time to swim  Absence of local pools due to closure or privatisation  Fall in standards of local pools  Lack of confidence to expose body in public  Self conscious in a swim suit  More fun and new exercises/activities to try rather than swim

12 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 11 Furthermore, relatively small disruptions can have a big impact on established routines We used to go every week, but then they were refurbishing the leisure centre. They kept the pool open for as long as they could, but in the two or three months it was closed we just started doing other things. 35-45yrs, Herts I went with a friend, we had a little thing going where it was just the two of us. Then her shifts changed and we weren’t free at the same time anymore so I suppose it just sort of petered away. 20-34yrs, Manchester I used to get a lift with my dad and we’d go together but now we’ve moved it’s a bit further and I’m older so I have to go on the bus which is harder, and you don’t want to be all on the bus looking like you’ve just been swimming with your wet hair. 16-19yrs, Manchester Even small disruptions to a swimmer’s routine can lead to them reducing participation

13 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 12 Sudden independence for teenage girls can lead to dropping out of swimming What’s it about?  Most of the women we spoke to felt that there was a pool they could swim at which was a manageable distance from their home  However, the teenage girls we interviewed expressed difficulty getting to their local pool at times. For many, getting to the pool means getting a lift. In addition, many of them were seeking more independence from their families, but hadn’t yet learnt to drive. Though public transport was available in many cases, this was often unreliable and difficult. Why has it become more of an issue?  Time pressures on parents means that even when teens are happy to accept a lift there might not be one available  Equally, the extra time it takes to get public transport to the pool makes it harder to fit in with a busy schedule of studying, part-time work and socialising  Young women might not feel they look their best after swimming, taking public transport home afterwards is therefore unappealing.

14 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 13 Reasons for decline

15 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 14 Reasons for decline exist across three areas: Lifestyle reasons Personal reasons Psychological and physiological barriers directly related to the individual (either real or perceived) Social pressures and practical influences experienced by the individual Reasons linked directly to the sport experience or sport infrastructure Swimming reasons Reasons for decrease in swimming participation can be personal, social or lifestyle based, or be related to the swimming experience itself.

16 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 15 Reasons collected from both qualitative research and previous research reports/ publications Overall, across all these areas, there are a vast array of reasons for drop out: Personal reasons Lifestyle reasons Swimming reasons Change in routine – now out of the habit I don’t want to go alone Chlorine is bad for my skin and hair Taking the kids swimming is too much of a mission I just can’t find the time now I’m rushing about after the kids Private pools are too expensive, and local pools are unappealing It’s not value for money It’s expensive for us to go as a family now I feel self-conscious, there’s so much pressure to have the perfect body I feel self-conscious if I haven’t shaved etc The pool is noisy with splashing kids My local pool has closed / was privatised There are so many other fun activities to do instead There’s never a time when it’s just for people like me The pool is always busy – there’s no space to do lengths It’s just not a relaxing place to be The pool and changing rooms are too cold The pool and changing rooms are dirty and unhygenic Going swimming involves a lot of hassle and planning I’m working a lot harder these days – it’s hard to make the time I have to focus on my studies now I’m getting older It’s hard for me to get there now my parents don’t take me I’ve lost motivation now I have no-one to go with Their timetable doesn’t fit with my life

17 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 16 These reasons can be clustered into broad groups Personal reasons Lifestyle reasons Swimming reasons These reasons correspondingly fall into personal, lifestyle and sporting areas, although they are often interlinked UNAPPEALING POOL ENVIRONMENT THE POOL DOESN’T CATER FOR MY NEEDS HASSLE FACTOR POOR VALUE FOR MONEY TIME PRESSURE SELF CONSCIOUS- NESS COMPETITION FROM OTHER ACTIVITIES DON’T WANT TO GO ALONE

18 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 17 The following slides provide detail around the 8 key reasons for decline of swimming participation amongst women UNAPPEALING POOL ENVIRONMENT THE POOL DOESN’T CATER FOR MY NEEDS HASSLE FACTOR POOR VALUE FOR MONEY TIME PRESSURE SELF- CONSCIOUSNESS COMPETITION FROM OTHER ACTIVITIES DON’T WANT TO GO ALONE

19 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 18 SELF- CONSCIOUSNESS

20 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 19 Self-consciousness and image is becoming a growing issue The issue:  Going swimming involves wearing a swimsuit, which can leave little to the imagination. Some women feel uncomfortable with this  For some, the thought of bumping into people they know at the pool is unappealing  For others, they feel exposed in front of strangers and young lifeguards. Why has this issue increased?  Women are feeling greater pressure from all angles to look good all the time  With the profusion of airbrushed celebrity images, and countless stories relating to diets, exercise and amazing weight loss, women feel uncomfortable with their bodies if they think they don’t match up to the ideal  This issue is affecting women across the board – from girls becoming pre-occupied with how they look from an ever earlier age, to new mums feeling the pressure to snap back into shape post-baby. Swimming is becoming less appealing for fear of revealing one’s imperfections SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS

21 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 20 Women who feel they don’t have the ‘perfect’ body are increasingly reluctant to put it on show I don’t want people to see me in my costume, whereas in a gym class you have clothes on. You’re confident when you’re young, but when you’re older and have kids your body confidence goes down. 20-34 yrs, Herts How can you make women feel more confident and comfortable in the pool environment? SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS

22 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 21 DON’T WANT TO GO ALONE

23 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 22 It’s increasingly hard to find other people to go swimming with The issue:  Many people enjoying swimming as a solo activity as a way of getting ‘me time’.  However some of the women we spoke to talked about needing someone else to help motivate them and find it easier to stick to an activity if they have someone else to help them along.  Not wanting to go swimming alone is a particular trait we found in younger women, specifically teens. As teenagers grow up, and strive for independence away from their family they seek to spend more time with friends, often groups of friends all together. Finding a group of girls who all want to go swimming, and who can all get there can be more difficult than finding a group who’d like to go shopping for example. Why has this issue increased?  Increased body consciousness can mean that fewer girls would choose to go swimming in a group – so even if you wanted to go, you might struggle to find a willing partner  Increased numbers of other fun activities means there are many more options to choose from, so swimming can lose out  Greater time pressures, and the perceived extra time needed to swim relative to other exercise activities can make it difficult to find others to go with Going to the pool alone is a less appealing prospect for younger women DON’T WANT TO GO ALONE

24 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 23 It’s hard to find the confidence or motivation to go alone, especially when there are other things to do DON’T WANT TO GO ALONE Extract taken from respondent scrapbook tasks

25 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 24 It’s hard to find the confidence or motivation to go alone, especially when there are other things to do You have more confidence if you’ve got someone to go along with, it’s funny going on your own, like dealing with the lockers and things. 16-20 yrs, Herts If it’s just you, you make excuses not to go. It’s nicer to go with other people, they get you to go. 35-45yrs, Herts How can you help women find a friend to swim with? How can you better accommodate social swimming? DON’T WANT TO GO ALONE

26 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 25 TIME PRESSURE

27 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 26 Women are experiencing time pressures The issue:  Women are finding it hard to get everything done at the best of times, let alone to take time out to go swimming Why has this issue increased?  Busy lives in general  Rising numbers of working mums balancing their jobs with looking after their families  Rising number of single parent families – in most cases women remain the primary carers and their children stay at home with them – having sole responsibility for looking after the children day to day leaves less time for other activities  Children themselves doing a greater number of activities which mum/dad drive them to and from – though these provide child free time, it’s often not long enough to use effectively  The current economic situation has left many feeling insecure in their employment. Those threatened by redundancies may stay longer and work harder to secure their jobs, or end up picking up more work to do when colleagues leave  Academic pressures particularly affect young women. There’s a sense that giving up a sport or hobby at exam time is part of the course to allow more time for studying Finding time to exercise is challenging, it’s just too difficult to fit swimming in TIME PRESSURE

28 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 27 With so little ‘free time’, exercise is either dropped altogether or swimming is swapped for a more convenient exercise activity I’m like a service for my kids. My daughter is at home revising for her GCSEs and she needs me to help. 35-45yrs, Herts You don’t want to disappoint anyone or let anyone down, so you do more work. When your exams kick in you have to give something up. 16-19 yrs, Herts It’s a whole evening out – getting there, swimming, showering, then you’re shattered afterwards. 20-34yrs, Manchester The gym has everything there – you can go in and out – and can be just 45 minutes. 35-45yrs, Herts I get some free time but its not quality time – I may have two hours but its not worth me going anywhere because I have to go and pick my son up and I can’t relax. 35-45yrs, Manchester How can you make swimming an activity that can fit more easily into hectic lives? And/ or how can you make swimming an experience worth finding the time for? TIME PRESSURE

29 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 28 Having a baby is a common time for women to drop out of swimming altogether due to increased demand of their time How can you help busy Mums in particular keep swimming to be a part of their lives? TIME PRESSURE Extract taken from respondent scrapbook tasks

30 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 29 HASSLE FACTOR

31 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 30 The issue:  The perceived extra time it takes to go swimming  The preparation women make beforehand – like shaving or fake tan  The need to shower, wash hair and get dressed and ready afterwards. Why has this issue increased?  We’re leading busier lives – more than a third of women say their lives are so busy that managing their time effectively is a constant challenge  These days there is so much more pressure to look good all of the time. Women feel under close scrutiny, so their preparations before swimming feel more important, and they also feel less comfortable to just wash and go afterwards – all this extra effort takes more time. Swimming in particular has a lot of hassle associated with it Preparation before, and presentation after swimming creates hassle which women don’t always have time / energy for HASSLE FACTOR

32 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 31 There’s a lot of effort that seems to surround going swimming There’s a need for certain preparations, you’ve got to shave … keep things tidy, you know. 35-45yrs, Herts And when you’re finished you’re still not done. You’ve got a bag of wet kit to deal with. 35-45yrs, Herts How can you make swimming more convenient and less hassle? HASSLE FACTOR

33 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 32 COMPETITION FROM OTHER ACTIVITIES

34 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 33 The issue:  In recent years, new fun fitness activities have emerged and are now often preferred as overcome many barriers to exercising Why has this issue increased?  There has been a steady increase in the different kinds of fitness activities available across the board – from Zumba to Pilates. Whatever the latest ‘craze’ might be, gyms, leisure centres and town halls are quick to adopt it as part of their programme. It can feel like swimming isn’t moving with the times in this context  Classes which last for a specific amount of time, and fit in to a weekly schedule (e.g. every Tuesday at 6.30pm) can offer an easy solution to keeping fit when time is tight. Also, there is less perceived ‘hassle’ involved with an exercise class  In a time pressured environment, people are demanding more of the things they do in their leisure time. These activities can combine fitness, fun and socialising – many women go along with a friend or meet people at the groups. Many new exercise activities have come on the scene, competing with swimming COMPETITION FROM OTHER ACTIVITIES With so many new, fun activities to choose from, swimming can lose out

35 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 34 Women are starting to explore new, alternative activities to more traditional swimming I go to exercise classes with friends in the evenings. It’s nice to do something for me but it needs to be local, affordable and fit in with your time. 35-45 yrs, Herts Exercising in that way, and having to put up with all of that hassle when there are so many other things you can do – like Zumba, power plate and all that... people don’t have to do it anymore. 20-34 yrs, Manchester Years and years ago there was either the cinema or the public baths – there are so many other things you can do today. 20-34 yrs, Manchester What can you do to reinvigorate swimming so that it stands up to the competition? Can you modernise swimming to fit with latest exercise fads/trends? COMPETITION FROM OTHER ACTIVITIES

36 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 35 UNNAPPEALING POOL ENVIRONMENT

37 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 36 The issue:  Some are reluctant to use their local pool as they feel standards have slipped, and the facility is dirty or unhygienic Why has this issue increased?  The growth in private gyms has raised the bar for local pools  In addition, the rising popularity of spa days and pampering gives more people who have never been to a private facility a taste of the experience, again this raises expectations  Local pools feel outdated, they haven’t changed over the years, and as a consequence may seem dirty and unappealing  We also heard genuine stories of low standards at local pools – inadequate changing facilities including mixed changing rooms, lack of perceived safeguards of cleanliness – like encouragement to shower before entering the pool or a foot bath on the way out of and in to the changing room, etc. 1) Perceptions of local facilities as dirty and unhygienic UNAPPEALING POOL ENVIRONMENT Where facilities don’t feel up to scratch, women are likely to find other environments / activities where they feel more comfortable

38 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 37 1) Perceptions of local facilities as dirty and unhygienic: consumer quotes UNAPPEALING POOL ENVIRONMENT I think cleanliness levels are dropping. It’s all private contractors running it, and their priority isn’t cleanliness. Older pools just don’t get clean. 20-34 yrs, Herts I worry about it – when I go with my daughter and she’s crawling around on the floor and there’s other people’s hair everywhere. 35-45 yrs, Herts The changing rooms are verruca city, you can’t have a shower in a proper cubicle, then there are chipped tiles and it’s all cold. 20-34 yrs, Manchester How can you clean up the image of local pool facilities and change perceptions to make people want to go keep going? A recent article from a local paper in Herts

39 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 38 Why has this issue increased?  As people’s lives are busy, more is demanded from our free time. Swimming for many was a source of quiet and relaxation. Pools which cannot provide that quiet, relaxed atmosphere, or plenty of space for lengths are deemed unappealing. 2) The pool is too busy and/or full of kids UNAPPEALING POOL ENVIRONMENT Where the pool environment or the swimming experience fails to live up to expectations, women may choose to get their relaxation/fitness elsewhere The issue:  Many women, especially mums, use their time in the pool to relax, and snatch some valuable ‘me time’. Where pools are busy, or full of children it’s harder to zone out and really enjoy downtime  In addition, those who go to the pool to swim lengths as part of their normal fitness activity feel frustrated if there isn’t sufficient space or order for them to do so.

40 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 39 2) The pool is too busy and/or full of kids UNAPPEALING POOL ENVIRONMENT What can you do to offer women a more enjoyable and tranquil place to swim? Noise and lights – it’s those strip lights if you do backstroke you’d get a migrane. Like you’re sat in a fridge. 20-34 yrs, Manchester It’s off-putting having kids in one section and lanes in the other because they all want to hang off the rope and disturb you. 35-45yrs, Herts There are loads of kids and noise around – you want peace and relaxation. 35-45yrs, Herts

41 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 40 Why has this issue increased?  Increasing numbers of women are colouring their hair – whether at home or in the salon. Many are suspicious that chlorine will affect their colour or the condition of their hair  With increased publicity around skincare routines, and a focus on anti-ageing women take more steps to look after their skin now. Some perceive negative effects of chlorine on their skin, or feel that it takes longer for their skin to recover after swimming than other exercises. 3) Dislike of the effect of chlorine on skin and hair UNAPPEALING POOL ENVIRONMENT Many women feel there is nothing they can do about the effects of chlorine on their skin and hair, and they don’t have time to fuss after swimming The issue:  Many women feel that chlorine has a negative effect on their hair or skin, causing irritation or affecting their hair style / colour

42 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 41 3) Dislike of the effect of chlorine on skin and hair: consumer quotes UNAPPEALING POOL ENVIRONMENT Your skin goes very dry, and I always have sore eyes afterwards. 35-45yrs, Herts I had to stop, it made my hair go green and my hairdresser said ‘have you been swimming?’. 16-19 yrs, Manchester I’ve got psoriasis on my legs, and it made them much worse. It really hurts. 20-34 yrs, Manchester You’ve just paid £50 for your highlights and it strips it out. 20-34 yrs, Manchester How can you dial up the positives of the environment so smaller things, like chlorine, feel less important?

43 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 42 THE POOL DOESN’T CATER FOR MY NEEDS

44 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 43 The issue:  The timetable doesn’t fit in with my life  There’s never a time when it’s just for people like me Why has this issue increased?  As people’s lives are busy, more is demanded from our free time. As women struggle to fit everything in, it becomes more important that their swimming experience is optimised – the right session (whether women only, or aqua aerobics), the right amount of space, at the right time  Respondents are looking for more personalised experiences which fit in with their schedules – they have access to this across other categories, and are less accustomed to altering their routines to accommodate things. The pool doesn’t recognise my individual needs THE POOL DOESN’T CATER FOR MY NEEDS Women feel that at times they have to fit their lives around the pool schedule – when they’d like the schedule to fit around their lives

45 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 44 The pool doesn’t cater for my needs: consumer quotes THE POOL DOESN’T CATER FOR MY NEEDS There’s a pool ten minutes away, but it’s the one all the local schools use for their lessons so I avoid it – I only go in the holidays. 35-45yrs, Herts They’ve got an over 50s session, but that’s too high a barrier. It would be good to have over 40s. You do tend to see older women swimming rather than people my age. For me it matters, I’d like to see people my age. 35-45yrs, Herts What can you do to create a pool facility that caters for individual needs?

46 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 45 POOR VALUE FOR MONEY

47 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 46 The issue:  Without a membership (even for public facilities), it can be expensive for adults to swim – often between £3.50 and £5 per session  For mums going with young children they may only spend 20 minutes in the pool, making it poor value for money  Many areas no longer offer free swimming for under-16s, making family trips expensive Why has this issue increased?  Household incomes are decreasing in relative terms, and many are tightening their belts even if they are not directly affected by the recession. They may prioritise other things over swimming, or no longer be able to afford to swim as often or at all. For families, the end of universal free swimming for under-16s may have a great impact  Increased scrutiny of value and growing savviness means consumers demand more for their money across many different areas. If swimming is not seen as offering all round value – in terms of time, the pool environment, the experience, etc. – then women may decide to spend their money elsewhere  In addition, consumers have increasing access to a wide variety of vouchers, loyalty schemes and incentives in other parts of their lives, and have become increasingly savvy in their ability to weigh up the relative benefits of each offer Swimming as an activity is sometimes considered poor value for money POOR VALUE FOR MONEY Where women feel swimming fails to offer all round value, this is reflected in their participation

48 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 47 Poor value for money: consumer quotes POOR VALUE FOR MONEY I just can’t justify having a gym membership at uni just so I can swim, when I can run every day. 16-19 yrs, Manchester If I go to the Ball Zone with my kids they’re in for an hour, and it’s £4 a session. When we go swimming they’re only in for 20 minutes. 35-45 yrs, Herts My local pool’s car park isn’t big enough and I end up paying for one up the road – 40p for pay and display, 20p for the locker it all adds up. 35-45 yrs, Herts If you’ve not got a gym membership, if you’re not on a great wage it has gone up, you’re talking £4 for a swim – that’s ridiculous. 20-34 yrs, Manchester We have to pay for our 11 month baby – less than a pound but its not free. 35-45 yrs, Manchester How can you make swimming more affordable and seem better value for money?

49 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 48 Case studies

50 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 49 Case study – Anna (student, 18, lives at home) CHLOE MARKET SEGMENT  Anna learnt to swim at school and really enjoyed it. Her dad used to take her and her brother swimming at the weekend, sometimes her friends came along too. When she got her weekend job, she and a friend started trying to go after college, but it was hard to find the time, eventually it petered out. Now Anna goes swimming once every couple of months if she can get a lift.  Anna would like to go swimming more, but can’t seem to find the time. Now she’s older the prospect of going with her dad isn’t that great, and she find the bus ride there and back takes a big chunk out of her day – time she can’t afford to give now she’s studying harder. These days she just nips out for half an hour to go for a run every now and then  When she does have free time, Anna spends most of it with her friends. They tend to meet in town to just hang out because it’s easy for everyone to get to, and doesn’t have to cost them anything!  Anna,18 years old  Student, living at home with parents and her older brother  Anna is studying at the local college, she also has a Saturday job in a clothes shop in town to earn a little extra money  In her spare time she loves going out with her friends, shopping and socialising whenever she can  Like most girls her age, she’s pretty worried about her exams this year and working hard to get the grades to get into university  Anna likes keeping fit, and when she has time heads out for a run or a very occasional swim

51 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 50 Case study – Emily (28, single works full time) HELENA MARKET SEGMENT  In her last job, Emily used to take her full hour’s lunch break so she could go round the corner to her gym and swim three times a week. She really looked forward to it, and thought it left her feeling refreshed and energised.  Since moving to her new job, Emily feels like she has much less free time. She’s really trying to develop her career, and with a few redundancies in her department she’s ended up staying late a lot, and working through lunch most of the time. Emily says that even if she did have time for a swim at lunch, she wouldn’t have time to get ready and smartened back up for work.  Exercise these days consists of British Military Fitness on Saturday mornings, and one weekday evening in spring / summer. Emily thinks this gives her a great workout, in a short space of time – which makes up for not exercising as much any more.  Emily, 28 years old  Single, works full time in publishing, lives with friends  Emily has been in her job for two years now, having left uni and done various things, she’s now found a career she’s really interested in  In her spare time she tries to see her friends, and loves heading out to visit exhibitions and new restaurants in the city  Emily likes to dress smartly for work, and takes an interest in latest fashion trends. She treats herself sometimes to posh skincare products and perfume  Looking good is important to Emily, and keeping fit is part of that. She finds it hard to fit exercise in, so when she does she likes to work hard and be in and out quickly.

52 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 51 Case study – Lisa (33, new mum) ALISON MARKET SEGMENT  Lisa used to go swimming with a friend a couple of times a week before she had her son – their work shifts meant they could find a quiet time to go together. She swam until about halfway into her pregnancy but then became busy trying to sort things out for her imminent arrival.  She’s been getting back into exercise gradually, she likes going for walks with her son in his buggy, and occasionally she goes to pilates in the evening with a friend. It’s gentle enough exercise for her, and gives her a little time for herself.  She’s thought about going swimming, but at the moment the idea of putting on a swimming costume again isn’t that appealing. She’s also a bit worried about taking her son – she’s not sure what to do, and worries it might not be clean at her local pool.  Lisa, 33 years old  New mum, living at home with husband and baby son  Lisa used to be a receptionist for a local dentist’s surgery, but has been on maternity leave for the last ten months. She’s planning to return to her job for 3 days a week in a couple of months’ time  Having a baby has really turned her life upside-down, she and her husband Steve have really re-evaluated their priorities  Seeing friends can sometimes be a struggle for Lisa, but she met a great group of girls through her NCT group and they’re still in touch  Lisa would love to have time to do some gentle exercise, she feels self- conscious about carrying a little bit of baby weight, but isn’t sure what to do.

53 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 52 Case study – Anna (44, older mum, works part time) JACKIE MARKET SEGMENT  Sarah used to really enjoy taking the kids for a swim at the weekend, but now her girls are older it’s just not cool to go swimming with mum anymore. Her son has started football on Saturday mornings now, so there’s no time for a trip to the pool.  Sarah spends a lot of time being ‘mum’s taxi’ – taking them to see friends, to music lessons, and picking them up from after school clubs. She helps out on Tuesdays when her son has swimming lessons, but though she watches him from the side there’s no space for the mums to swim as well  With such a busy life Sarah craves a bit of time for relaxation, but she feels guilty if she just leaves the kids to their own devices. Even if he husband was at home in the evening, she can’t imagine going swimming alone – she says her son would want to come with her!  Sarah, 44 years old  Works four days a week for an insurance company  Remarried, lives at home with her husband, son (7), and daughters (13 and 15)  Sarah describes her life as ‘hectic’ – she spends most of her time running after her three children, doing her share of ferrying them around to various activities, looking after them at home, or playing host to the odd sleepover, etc.  When she has a moment, she tries to catch up with her friends, they tend to just have a coffee and a chat on her day off, or occasionally go round for dinner if they can find a babysitter.  Sarah knows she should be more active, but with so many other things to do, it’s not top of her priority list

54 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 53 Addressing the issues: potential interventions

55 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 54 Some issues are more significant that others and some can be more easily addressed Significant issue, feasible to overcome Significant issue, harder to overcome Less of an issue, feasible to overcome Less of an issue, harder to overcome Difficulty to overcome Scale of issue Major Minor LowerHigher Plotting issues within a matrix can be a useful way to prioritise interventions

56 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 55 The significance of each issue differs as does the ease in which they can be overcome Issues concerning the swimming environment are perhaps easier to address and could have the biggest impact on participation levels Significant issue, feasible to overcome Significant issue, harder to overcome Less of an issue, feasible to overcome Less of an issue, harder to overcome Difficulty to overcome Scale of issue UNAPPEALING POOL ENVIRONMENT THE POOL DOESN’T CATER FOR MY NEEDS HASSLE FACTOR POOR VALUE FOR MONEY TIME PRESSURE COMPETITION FROM OTHER ACTIVITIES DON’T WANT TO GO ALONE SELF- CONSCIOUSNE SS

57 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 56 The pool doesn’t cater for my needs SIGNIFICANT ISSUE, FEASIBLE TO OVERCOME What can you do to create a pool facility that caters for individual needs? Recognise the needs of different types of women (lifestage and age) Recognise the needs of different types of swimmers Offer different pool atmospheres e.g. Offer peaceful, relaxation swim sessions for those who want ‘me time’ Offer upbeat sessions with music for those who want a harder workout in the pool Offer different types of swim sessions e.g. Create more early and late lane sessions for workers to go before and after work Allow Mum/carer to swim whilst her child is in a class

58 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 57 The pool doesn’t cater for my needs I would like music – you can swim to the beat, it puts you in the mood and it distracts you from counting lengths. 35-45 yrs, Herts It would be great if I could swim in a session while my toddler is in her session - I could swim while she is being cared for. 35-45 yrs, Herts Aqua aerobics are for pensioners. If they were designed for people your own age and specify the intensity that would be better. 20-34 yrs, Manchester I’d like it if they had a group session for lapsed swimmers – people at your level, in the same boat. 35-45 yrs, Herts They need to be open early enough – I have to be at work at 7.45am and they should be open until 10pm so you can go straight home and put your PJs on. 20-34 yrs Herts

59 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 58 Unappealing pool environment SIGNIFICANT ISSUE, FEASIBLE TO OVERCOME How can you clean up the image of local pool facilities and change perceptions to make people want to go keep going? Revamp local pools and clean up their image Create a more inviting and enticing environment Create a more luxury experience when visiting a pool facility e.g. Music in the changing rooms Low lighting (rather than bright, stark lights) Warmer, more spacious changing facilities Better showers Change people’s experience of dirty pool facilities and reassure them they are clean e.g. Clean and refresh a local pool (and make the local community aware) Put new cleanliness standards in place and communicate that pools meet new high standards

60 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 59 Unappealing pool environment Appearance and maintenance are so important – if you make it a nice place people will want to go again. 35-45 yrs, Manchester They should revamp existing pools and market them again. It would be good if they could put posters out saying ‘we need you’ and get sports personalities behind it!” 35-45 yrs, Manchester

61 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 60 Competition for other activities SIGNIFICANT ISSUE, FEASIBLE TO OVERCOME What can you do to reinvigorate swimming so that it stands up to the competition? Can you modernise swimming to fit with latest exercise fads/ trends? Bring swimming up to date – modernise its image Provide ‘quick fix’ sessions to fit in and around their busy schedules Offer opportunities to swim for a short fixed length of time to compete with other quicker activities, e.g. aerobics classes/ runs, etc. e.g. 30 minute intense workout pool class Offer swimming classes and exercises that fit with latest trends e.g. Aqua Zumba or equivalent

62 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 61 Competition for other activities – Aqua Zumba Everyone is doing Zumba at the moment, it’s modern, it’s relevant, it’s different – it might get you more used to the pool. 20-34 yrs, Manchester Yeah! I’d definitely do this – it’s the name Zumba – its really in fashion – its dance and exercise and is really good for you! 35-45 yrs, Herts

63 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 62 Poor value for money SIGNIFICANT ISSUE, FEASIBLE TO OVERCOME How can you make swimming more affordable and seem better value for money? Encourage repeat swimmingRecognise family swimming Assist and encourage families to swim by offering them help in affording to pay for several people/children e.g. Family deals/packages Concessions for children Encourage people to come back and swim again by offering them an incentive to do so e.g. Loyalty schemes such as come 9 times and get 10 th swim free

64 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 63 Value for money Everyone likes a good deal, especially with the recession, so 2 for 1s would be great! 20-34 yrs, Herts They need to be family friendly – kids always want a drink and snack after. 35-45 yrs, Manchester Go 4 times and get 5 th swim free would really give you encouragement and be like a reward. 20-34 yrs, Herts

65 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 64 Self consciousness SIGNIFICANT ISSUE, HARDER TO OVERCOME How can you make women feel more confident and comfortable in the pool environment? Provide comfort that no men will see them Help women feel comfortable and confident about their bodies Acknowledge their concern and champion real women to overcome image and pressure to have a stick thin model body e.g. Dove ‘real women’ type campaign Offer women an environment where they are safe from men seeing them e.g. Women only sessions Female lifeguards Offer privacy Allow women to get changed in privacy without people watching them e.g. Private cubicles Private showers Towel racks by the side of the pool

66 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 65 Self consciousness They need to have more women only sessions – my friend is Muslim – I like to go swimming with her as she motivates me but I no longer go swimming because there are no women only sessions at a time when we can both make it. 20-34 yrs, Herts One of the pools near me has a mixed changing room but I would rather travel an extra mile to avoid it. I’d be scared about the cracks in the booths where they’d see half a boob or something – I would feel much more comfortable if it was just ladies. 20-34 yrs, Manchester

67 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 66 Hassle factor SIGNIFICANT ISSUE, HARDER TO OVERCOME How can you make swimming more convenient and less hassle? Reduce the amount of planning involved before a swim Reduce the hassle involved in getting changed after the swim Provide well equipped changing facilities e.g. Enough good hairdryers Straighteners Full length mirrors Soap/shampoo/conditioner/face wipes, etc. Provide hassle free facilities e.g. Coin free lockers Available and nearby car parking

68 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 67 Hassle factor They should have face wipes and stuff like that in the changing rooms so you can take make up off and reduce the hassle. 20-34 yrs, Herts They need to have coin free lockers and plenty of free parking. I have to look around for loose change before I go every time and it’s a nuisance. 35-45 yrs, Herts If they could provide permanent lockers it would mean you could leave your stuff there and go straight to work. It would make it easier – less planning involved. 20-34 yrs, Herts

69 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 68 Time pressures SIGNIFICANT ISSUE, HARDER TO OVERCOME How can you make swimming an activity that can fit more easily into hectic lives? And/or how can you make swimming an experience worth finding the time for? Offer flexibilityOffer an added benefit Combine swimming with another activity/past time e.g. Have a cafe for people to meet up after and socialise Offer mums/carers the opportunity to swim while their child attends a class Help people to fit swimming around their lives rather than them having to fit their lives around swimming e.g. Longer opening hours More lane sessions Recognise time constraints Acknowledge that they may have limited time to squeeze a swim in e.g. Offer discounts for shorter pool sessions Communicate that even 20-30 mins in the pool is still worth doing

70 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 69 Time pressures If I could have a swim, a shower and a spa treatment all in one place it would be wonderful! 20-34 yrs, Herts It would be nice if they had a good coffee shop at the facility like a Starbucks because you want to be able to socialise and have a chat after. 35-45 yrs, Herts If the pool was appealing you would find the time to go – if you really want to do something you will find the time – my husband always says “you always find the time to go to the shopping centre!” 35-45 yrs, Manchester

71 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 70 Don’t want to go alone LESS OF AN ISSUE, HARDER TO OVERCOME How can you help women find a friend to swim with? How can you better accommodate social swimming? Encourage people to bring friends Help women find other women to swim with Provide a service/help facilitate in women finding other women to swim with at their local pool e.g. Informal/social swimming club Online network (NB: this has mixed reactions and only appeals to some women - see next slide) Make it more affordable to bring a friend e.g. Buy 1 get 1 free Bring a friend and get free coffee Offer the opportunity to socialise at the pool facility Allow for women to spend time socialising at the pool to combine with swimming e.g. Coffee shop at the pool

72 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 71 Don’t want to go alone Take a friend for free would be good as it can be expensive to both go. 20-34 yrs, Herts

73 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 72 Other intervention ideas were tested: 1.Swimathon 2.British Gas Swimfit 3.Open Water 4.Aquatic Champion 5.Learn to swim/swimming technique 6.Swim ‘n’ Gym 7.Women’s Network The following slides give insight around women’s reactions and future potential for each idea

74 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 73 1. Swimathon: Holds some appeal but is considered a one off It’s going to motivate you, give you a reason to go along. 20-34 yrs, Herts It’s nice in theory, but would you actually do it? This might only get you once, it might not encourage you to come back. 35-45 yrs, Manchester The idea of a swimathon appeals, but questions remain around its suitability for lapsed swimmers, or effectiveness for raising participation in the long term  Motivating – gives a purpose to going to the pool  Could be fun to do it in a team  Similar to the popular ‘Race for Life’  A one off thing  Too much commitment  Suitable for people who swim already, not for those who haven’t been for a while  Too competitive for some

75 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 74 2. British Gas Swimfit: an interesting tool but some disconnect  Helps give structure to swimming sessions  Provides information about local facilities  Source of advice  British Gas is not associated readily with swimming & is confusing  Would prefer to get information at the poolside  Seen as something for serious swimmers It’d be good if it had videos so I could see what classes there are and if I’d want to do them. 35-45 yrs, Herts I wouldn’t go home from swimming then go online, the information is interesting but it’s not a factor that would make me go – it’s a time thing. 35-45 yrs, Manchester For some, Swimfit appeals as a useful source of advice and information but for others the connection between online and in the pool feels weak, and the resource was unlikely to tempt them to return to the pool/swim more often

76 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 75 3. Open Water  Good for ‘out-doorsy’ people  A possibility for summer  Something different – a new experience  Cold water is off putting  Considered as frightening and dangerous  Concern about dirty water  Not suitable for the UK climate There would be some people who would think it was an adventure. 16-19 years, Manchester I’d be thinking ‘what the hell’s underneath me?’ You don’t know what’s going on. 20-34 yrs, Manchester Overall, open water swimming fails to appeal, respondents perceive outdoor swimming as too cold, and frightening because of murky water

77 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 76 4. Aquatic champion: Holds potential to encourage swimmers but feels aimed at someone else  Could help spread the word about what’s going on in the local pool  Provides information from ‘people like me’  Gives encouragement and support to get swimming  Seen as something for dedicated, more serious swimmers  Doubt that they could motivate others when they have trouble motivating themselves  Concern that it will be time consuming They could help make swimming more popular and get people to go along. 35-45 yrs, Herts It’s a very good idea, but you can’t get someone to do it for nothing. They’d need an incentive. 35-45 yrs, Manchester Inspiration and advice from ‘people like me’ has strong appeal, however, respondents felt that they would struggle to commit to becoming advocates themselves

78 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 77 5. Learn to swim/swimming technique: fails to appeal  Could help to build confidence in the water  Could help give swimmers something to work towards (to improve over time)  The idea of a swimming class could be sociable and fun – depending on its nature  Being good and improving one’s technique is not a priority for these women  Learn to swim sounds like it’s for beginners only  Swimming technique sounds too serious – something for competitive swimmers I want to get some good skills to gain a bit of confidence in the water 35-45 yrs, Herts I don’t care about technique – I just want to go along. It’s more committed people who want to work on their technique. 20-34 yrs, Herts While some feel that relaxed classes could help build confidence, many see themselves as in between ‘Learn to Swim’ and technique classes and feel happier just to go to the pool and do their own thing

79 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 78 6. Swim ‘n’ gym: Appealing to some but many don’t have the time  Having a specific aquatic class to go to could motivate you to extend your workout  Swimming lengths after the gym to warm down is seen as positive  Doing both the gym and swimming is seen as too time consuming, and for some too much exertion! It’s good to be able to do as much as possible under the same roof. 20-34yrs, Manchester If I’ve already done an hour in the gym, I’ve got no time to play about in the pool! 20-34 yrs, Herts Though respondents feel the idea of combining gym and swim sessions would be beneficial, time pressures mean for many this feels practically impossible

80 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 79 7. Women’s network: Interesting idea but holds limited appeal  Could help the problem of women not having anyone to go swimming with  Potential to meet new friends in the local area  Many feel it is desperate and sad to have to go online to find a friend  Many compare it to a dating site and worry that they would be at risk of meeting someone weird It makes you look desperate – like you have no friends. 20-34 yrs, Herts A nice idea in principle but many feel this couldn't work in reality A women’s network is cringy – it makes my toes curl – its like – you might meet a weirdo! 35-45 yrs, Manchester

81 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 80 Communication and marketing

82 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 81 It seems that communication and marketing of swimming is required in three areas National, large scale promotion of swimming Local information about what’s available and when Encouragement from people ‘like me’ Each area addresses different needs articulated by respondents

83 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 82 National, large scale promotion of swimming  Respondents feel there is a need for greater communication and promotion of swimming on a national level  At this level, the messaging is around communicating the benefits of swimming  The key benefits women want to hear about are around fitness and health – but not focussing on weight-loss specifically  Women also feel that comparing the benefits of swimming to other sports could encourage increased participation  Magazines were identified a good place to promote swimming, e.g. celebrity exercise regimes, or holiday fitness plans  Older respondents also remember TV adverts from their youth. I read about celebrity exercise regimes in magazines – if they mention swimming it may get people more interested. 20-34 yrs, Herts National promotion of the benefits and enjoyment of swimming could encourage more women to come back to the pool or swim more often

84 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 83  Traditional, local level marketing feels powerful, particularly for communicating local initiatives  At this level, the messaging is around practical information of what’s going on in the area, as well as benefits of swimming  Women want easy access to their pool’s timetable, and information about new things which are going on – many feel there might be things on at the pool they don’t know about  There is also a sense that information about local facilities – particularly about new developments, deep cleans or high standards of cleanliness - would be welcome  Use of local partners is encouraged, e.g. schools as a way of reaching women, poster in waiting room at GP surgery, libraries  Local newspapers, radio, and leaflets are also seen as effective. Local information about what’s available and when Schools could provide leaflets to give to parents about swimming in the local area. 35-45 yrs, Herts Community based promotion has more strength targeting specific groups, and converting the intention/desire to go swimming into an actual trip to the pool They should advertise anywhere you get women – even in shops and hairdressers. 35-45 yrs, Manchester

85 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 84 Encouragement from people like me  Community swimming champions (i.e. Aquatic Champions) are welcomed – they could provide a source of local information and encouragement, giving people the push they need to get more active  In addition, respondents feel that Facebook was good platform for reaching people with information – but this came with some caveats:  Friend-to-friend contact is viewed more positively than anything from brands and organisations, so give people a reason to talk about their swimming experience and inspire others  There has to be a value to communication – create shareable offers like 2 for 1 deals, or discount/loyalty schemes and target respondents with them, rather than just providing commentary and updates  Keep pages and groups up-to-date, make a commitment to ensure the information is fresh and interesting. Harnessing the power of local networks and social networking can provide much needed encouragement and inspiration You want information from a normal person you can relate to. 35-45 yrs, Herts

86 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 85 In addition, the perspective and voice of any marketing needs to be carefully considered to appeal to this group  Though experts were occasionally favoured as the source of information on the health benefits of swimming, in all, the voices of ordinary women were of most interest to respondents  Celebrities and athletes were seen as less accessible, and feel too far away from the lives women lead Marketing efforts which are tailored towards particular groups of women promote swimming and other activities as ‘for them’, not just for others I've never really seen anything aimed at me – its usually for young kids. 35-45 yrs, Herts There is a need for dedicated marketing materials which appeal to the target group Where spokespeople are used for promotion, the emphasis should be on ordinary people It should be other women, someone normal – that appeals to everyone. 20-34 yrs, Herts  Many women feel that all the marketing they see is aimed at children or older people, with nothing targeted specifically at them

87 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 86 Re-cap & final thoughts

88 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 87 In summary:  Swimming is a desirable sport but is facing new challenges brought about by societal shifts  This research has identified 8 key reasons for the decline in swimming participation amongst women. These span across personal and lifestyle issues as well as issues associated with the swimming experience itself  Some issues are more significant that others and some can be addressed more easily. The following four issues feel the most important and achievable for ASA:  Improve the pool environment  Cater better for individual needs  Modernise swimming to compete with other new exercise activities  Make swimming better value for money  Other issues feel harder to overcome such as reducing the hassle of swimming and competing with time pressures, however, there are initiatives you can put in place to help reduce the issue. RE-CAP

89 © The Futures Company 2011 ׀ 88 Get the basics right before focussing on redefining the offer FINAL THOUGHTS: What can you do to create a pool facility that caters for individual needs? How can you clean up the image of local pool facilities and change perceptions to make people want to go keep going? What can you do to reinvigorate swimming so that it stands up to the competition? Can you modernise swimming to fit with latest exercise fads/ trends? How can you make swimming more affordable and seem better value for money? How can you make women feel more confident and comfortable in the pool environment? How can you make swimming more convenient and less hassle? How can you make swimming an activity that can fit more easily into hectic lives? And/or how can you make swimming an experience worth finding the time for? How can you help women find a friend to swim with? How can you better accommodate social swimming? Talk about what you are doing: communicate the benefits

90 Follow us on Twitter Thank you Amy Esser 020 7955 1867

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