A year of Covid – who would have thought that this would be upon us for such a long time? We were devastated that we have had to postpone our projects until travel restrictions were lifted, but we knew it was the right thing to do. It has been tragic for our programmes they have just stopped; however, it has also provided us with an opportunity as many people are taking more time to assess what they want to do with their time. As such, our core team has grown to twelve people from finance to legal and policy making. They are worldwide in Singapore, Vietnam and Tanzania. These are all very dedicated individuals, and we welcome them all with open arms as SwimTayka takes on growth.
Following our growth we have adopted new branding that more closely represents our drowning prevention and environment objectives. I’m pleased to thank the Great State team for their time and professional help towards creating this branding for us. We can move forwards with a branding we are proud of.
Prior to the arrival of Covid, we managed to run our Peru programme at the start of the year. Our SwimTayka coordinator, Paul Gastanadui, a local Peruvian, ran the programme which was a great success as we managed to reach out to over 45 children.. Then Covid struck the world in March 2020, which put a hold on our Brazil, Mozambique and Indonesia projects which was a terrible shame.
Meanwhile, our lovely partners at ETIV do Brasilhad moved into a fantastic new property that offers both the children and volunteers some great opportunities. There is so much more space, including individual and shared apartments for the volunteers. It also includes a beautiful swimming pool that volunteers can use and serves the community during the SwimTayka programme. And it could not be used due to COVID, ahhhhh! We are keeping our fingers crossed for everything starting in Brazil in 2021.
On a lighter note with determination, strength and grit the English Channel Relay successfully swam to France on 14th August. They loved the swim, they hated it, they fought their demons, and they overcame them, and they battled on for 12 hours and 26 minutes until they achieved something that, a while ago, they never thought was possible. A huge congratulations to the team, you made us proud.
Another impressive feat was Rose, an 11 year old girl who chose to support SwimTayka by raising money through swimming the equivalent distance of the English Channel in a swimming pool. She raised £ 970 in her massive achievement. We thank her for her determination and persistence.
We also had our very own mascot Poppy (Black Labrador) swim at the Henley Festival and being the first dog to swim a mile, she was such a crowd pleaser and she loved all the attention. I was so proud of her.
Following the Henley Festival, we partnered with the event’s organisers and are now the Thames Marathon’s registered charity. The Thames Marathon is a sell-out event of great past success – a 14km swim challenge that spans from Henley-on-Thames to Marlow. With this new partnership, we are excited that swimmers will be raising vital funds imperative to our programmes while raising awareness for a cause that deserves to be recognised.
Finally a big hello and welcome to Yasmin, who has joined the SwimTayka team as fundraising manager. Yasmin is passionate about supporting our projects to help others learn to swim and to love and respect the ocean in the same way she does. Great to have you on-board Yasmin.
We are gaining pace and growing strongly, and the team and trustees are making a good foundation for the future of SwimTayka. I am looking forward to the year ahead of us.