As 2021 draws to an end, we reflect on what has been another challenging year. On behalf of the Trustees, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Anchor House for their hard work in supporting our members and partners.
Everyone has played their part in ensuring the support the STA provides continues to go above and beyond the expectations of members and partners. We, the Trustees, recognise this exceptional hard work. Many staff members were still on furlough or flexi-furlough, until the scheme drew to an end in October, and we are grateful for their support during this time.
Anchor House is run like a tight ship (see what I did there!) and of course a ship needs a Captain. Our Captain, Dave Candler, has not only kept the ship on course but steered it in directions and reached destinations none of us expected! Dave has ignored the Trustees’ requests to ensure he does not work 18-hour days, seven days a week, informing us that, as the STA runs through his veins, he just can’t switch off. He wants to do all he can for everyone in the industry – and he’s done just that!
Between January and April, whilst everyone waited for pools to open, the STA were working behind the scenes with new partnerships, research and development, webinars, and guidance documents for members to support them during the difficult times. Covid guidance was released promptly, following Government announcements, allowing members to prepare to return to work with confidence. The guidance provided by the STA reached further than its members and benefitted the wider industry. When pools finally re-opened, the work did not stop – more partnerships and initiatives launched and you only need to look back at the News Blog on the STA website to see how busy 2021 was!
In August, Dave, along with the senior management team, won the ukactive’s 2021 Outstanding Leadership Award – an award which was voted for by the industry. That tells us all we need to know! In October, Dave was named as one of the UK’s ‘Top 20 Dynamic CEOs of 2021’ by The CEO publication. They state their aims are to “showcase some of the most prominent CEOs in the world; CEO’s that have not only transformed their lives, but also the organisations they are leading and the lives of all those that surround them”. These awards highlight the impact Dave has had on the growth and development of the STA which, in turn, has benefitted members, partners and the wider aquatic industry.
2022 is the 90th anniversary of the STA and what a year it is going to be. In November, the STA made a stand. They stopped talking about how the industry has a massive swimming teacher shortage and they did something about it, launching ‘STAnd Up for Swimming’. Pledging tens of thousands of pounds in funding, throughout 2022, the STA will enable training for many hundreds of new swimming teachers around the UK. We thank the STA Team and the ATC members for their support in being able to bring this to fruition – what a great way to start the New Year.
To Dave Lewis, former STA President, I thank you for the support you provided to Dave in the past few years – you held the post during the most difficult of times. Thank you for remaining on the Board of Trustees and continuing to support the charity. And to Jo, Mike and Ayo, your contribution as Board Members is gratefully received.
Finally, to our members and partners, we thank you for your continued support and for championing the STA at every opportunity. It is wonderful to see so many positive social media posts regarding the STA and the support they have provided during these difficult times, and that’s largely down to you and our STA Brand Ambassadors.
It just leaves me to say that I wish our STA Family a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and, hopefully, stress-free New Year.