Hannah Calverley, Murray Robb, Gabbi Simmonds, Jake Hoy and Ben Moore




Country United Kingdom
Capital London
Population 64,088,222
Area 243,610 km94,058 square miles)
Drowning rate 0.44 per 100,000



Hannah, Murray, Gabbi, Jake and Ben were selected by RLSS UK as UK Youth Ambassadors to attend the World Conference on Drowning Prevention in Malaysia. Their project was to understand the opinions of those who compete and officiate at the Lifesaving Commonwealth Championships on how the event can be improved.

For you, what were the highlights of the workshop and conference?

For all five of us, the highlights included meeting people from all over the world with a shared passion for water safety.  We thoroughly enjoyed hearing the diverse range of techniques used to spread drowning prevention messages and breaking down the barriers which prevent people receiving these messages.  It was interesting to understand the challenges faced by others when educating members of the public on water safety throughout the world.  Another highlight was finding out about current research within the field.  We found it extremely interesting and humbling to realise the worldwide issues facing the drowning prevention community.  It made us even more driven to contribute something to these problems.

What were the biggest challenges that you faced with your project?

For our project we conducted a survey to collect and analyse the opinions of competitors and officials on how to improve the Lifesaving Commonwealth Championships.  The biggest challenge was to make the survey accessible to all those who could participate in the Championships and for their opinions and suggestions to be represented when analysing the data collected.  We felt that the Commonwealth Championships needed to be accessible and inclusive for all, and so we needed the survey to represent this philosophy as well.

How did your project go?

We put together the survey and sent it out to the Commonwealth before the end of 2015.  We tried to make the questions as broad as possible to give us access to as many potential participants in the Commonwealth as possible.  We analysed the results in January 2016, and presented them at the RLSS Commonwealth 125th Anniversary Conference in London in February 2016. Our presentation focused on the results of the survey, and was well received at the conference.  We are now waiting to hear what steps we can take next to help organise a Commonwealth Championships which is more inclusive and accessible for all.

What next?

We feel that the RLSS Commonwealth is not as well understood as it could be and we hope that we will be able to improve knowledge and understanding of the organisation in the UK by talking about our experiences in Penang.  Ultimately, we want to improve the understanding of the RLSS Commonwealth as well as promoting the Commonwealth Championships as a diverse, competitive and accessible competition.