The Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pools project is a Royal Life Saving WA initiative funded primarily through the Department of Communities with additional contribution made through BHP and the Telethon Kids Institute.

About the Project 

Swimming pools are valuable assets that bring about positive change in people’s lives and strengthen overall community wellbeing. Royal Life Saving established the Remote Pools project in 1999 to deliver a range of swimming and water programs to empower remote Aboriginal communities and promote sustainable change.  

The project is delivered by Royal Life Saving pool managers who currently work in consultation with the remote communities of Balgo, Bidyadanga, Burringurrah, Fitzroy Crossing, Jigalong, Kalumburu, Warmun and Yandeyarra. 

Royal Life Saving works in a range of capacities from leadership, research and advocacy, and community awareness to deliver programs which prioritise physical activity, health, education, youth engagement and employment.

Communities

The Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pools project is currently operating within eight remote Aboriginal communities located in the Pilbara, Kimberley, and Gascoyne regions of Western Australia. Learn more about each of these communities at the link below.

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Program Benefits

SOCIAL INVESTMENT

Social investment is needed to empower local people to become agents of their own development and to determine their own priorities at the pool. By incorporating inclusion strategies, yarning circles and learning journeys into activities our Remote Pools have become safe and inclusive hubs for the whole community.

Remote Pools - Theory of ChangeThe Remote Pools project empowers communities through:

  • Stronger family and community connection
  • Connection to country
  • Improved health and well-being
  • Economic participation
  • Greater self-determination and autonomy
  • Improved sharing of cultural knowledge

HEALTHY OUTCOMES

The Remote Pools project is premised on the basis that providing well-maintained, well-supervised aquatic facilities and swimming programs can potentially improve the overall health status of Aboriginal Australians, particularly Aboriginal children.  

A major focus of the program is in improving swimming proficiency in Aboriginal children, who are overrepresented in Australian drowning rates by two and half times that of other children. Water safety skills are particularly vital for remote communities which are often located near rivers that are impacted by flooding during the wet season. 

Community feedback reports children appear healthier since the program was established and the incidence of skin sores and ear infections has decreased.


YOUTH DEVELOPMENT & TRAINING

Royal Life Saving engages with youth to promote school attendance with each community embracing the ‘No School, No Pool’ policy. Many communities have reported a marked increase in school retention rates and an overall improvement in children’s behaviour. 

Opportunities are designed in conjunction with the Talent Pool program, to build self-esteem and confidence needed for young people to transition into adult employment. Aboriginal youth are offered practical exposure to job focused opportunities as well as mentoring and training with a view to encourage responsibility and ownership passing back to the community.