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Swimming in Scotland

Photo: Are you ready to take the plunge?

The Deaf-Friendly Swimming Project was a four-year programme delivered in Scotland.

The Big Lottery – Young Start funded project aimed to break down the barriers deaf children and young people aged 8–24 face participating in swimming and aquatics activities including swimming, water polo, diving, surfing, lifesaving and open water – to ensure all deaf young people are fully included.

Deaf young people can face many barriers to taking part in swimming activities, however, we know by taking small and simple steps these can be overcome.

We can support swimming centres, clubs, teachers and coaches to gain the knowledge, communication skills and confidence to overcome these barriers to ensure deaf young people have the same access to swimming as their hearing peers and develop a sporting habit for life.

We teamed up with Scottish Swimming to create and produce resources. We have an online iLearn course, deliver workshops to hearing teachers, we hold taster days, swimming lessons and pool parties. We also have a bursary scheme to support and fund deaf young people to undertake coaching and teaching qualifications.

For more information contact: Swimming Development Officer:  [email protected] or 0141 354 7860

To request resources, please see resources information below.


We have lots of deaf friendly swimming resources to ensure deaf children are included in mainstream swimming lessons.

See our YouTube channel to see swimming signs from our flash cards in action.

Contact our helpline for copies of our toolkit and BSL flash cards or call: 0808 800 8880

Or you can also download you own copy here.

You can also read our Top Tips, Advice and FAQ's for swimming.


Our face to face workshops are fun and informative. They help teachers and coaches develop confidence when communicating with deaf children and give advice on adapting swimming activities to make them more inclusive.

Instructors and coaches will learn how to make small & simple changes to make activities deaf-friendly and develop confidence communicating with deaf children and young people.

Instructors will also learn basic British Sign Language and swimming specific signs.

The training will cover:

  • The impact of deafness on young people
  • Communication methods
  • How to adapt your activities
  • Tips for welcoming deaf children
  • Guidance on engaging with deaf children in your area
  • Fingerspelling
  • BSL specific to swimming

Our next workshop: Thursday 29 August, Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre, Fife.

More info or to book your place: 


Saturday 16 November, NDCS Offices, London.

More info or to book your place:


For information on all our training sessions and workshops click here.

Online Courses

We have teamed up with the ASA to create the Deaf Friendly i-Learn Course to help teachers and coaches be more deaf aware. If you can't make it to one of our face to face workshops you can complete this accredited course.

It's FREE or £15 if you require a certificate to be posted to you.


Swimming Lessons

In partnership with Local Authorities, Sports Development & Leisure Trusts we have set up deaf friendly lessons across the country; Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Stirling, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire.


Deaf-friendly swimming lessons in Ayrshire are run by South Ayrshire Sports Development.

  • Prestwick Swimming Pool, South Ayrshire
  • Every Tuesday, 7pm - 7:45pm
  • £2.10 per lesson
  • Age 5 - 16 years

To book call 01292 474 015 or email [email protected]


We work in partnership with Edinburgh Leisure to run deaf-friendly swimming lessons. Teachers have been trained in adapting activities for deaf children.

  • Portobello Swim Centre, Edinburgh
  • Every Tuesday 5:15pm - 5:45pm
  • £18.36 per month | £5.50 per lesson after 1st block
  • Age 5+

To book call Portobello Swim Centre: 0131 669 6888 or email 
[email protected]


Sport Aberdeen run deaf-friendly swimming lessons for deaf children in Aberdeen.

  • Tullos Swimming Pool
  • Every Friday
  • Beginners 4:30pm - 5:00pm
  • Improvers 5:00pm - 5:30pm
  • £44 (half price with Access to Leisure)
  • Age 5+

To book call 01224 507 681 or email [email protected]


LiveLife Aberdeenshire are holding deaf-friendly swimming lessons for deaf children and young people in Aberdeenshire.

  • Ellon Academy Pool
  • Every Tuesday
  • Beginners 6:00pm - 6:30pm
  • Improvers 6:30pm - 7:00pm
  • £5.50 per lesson (half price DLA)
  • Age 4+

To book call 01358 727 910 (Press 2 – Learn to Swim or Reece Ironside) or email re[email protected]


Active Stirling run deaf-friendly swimming lessons for deaf young people in Stirlingshire.

  • Wallace High School Swimming Pool
  • Every Saturday (Beginners and Improvers) 12:30pm - 1:00pm
  • £25 for 1st block - 10 lessons | £17 per month after 1st block
  • Age 4+

To book call 01786 273 555 (option 2 then 1) or email [email protected]

Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Dundee, East Lothian and Highland

We have delivered deaf awareness and basic BSL for swimming to all of these local authorities. They also use all of our deaf-friendly swimming lessons resources. You can go to any pool in these areas and request a deaf-friendly swimming teacher.

If we do not have a partnership near you at the moment, we hope to have one soon!

Swimming Events

Our Come Try Watersports & Surfing events or Pool Parties are posted on our events page.

We have events in July and August. Take a look to see if we have something happening near you soon.

Lifeguard & Swimming Teacher Bursary

Do you know someone who wants to become a lifeguard or swimming teacher and deliver activities for deaf young people?

Our Bursary Scheme aims to support deaf young people (aged 16-24) gain formal aquatic qualifications.

The scheme will financially support young people to gain an aquatics qualification or to improve their existing coaching qualification.

So, if you’d like to become involved in aquatics and help support deaf young people in the pool apply today!

Get in touch today by emailing: [email protected]

Read about how Lauren is now teaching after receiving funds from our bursary Lauren’s swimming coaching success.


See why our Deaf-Friendly Swimming Project won a National Lottery Award.

Our bursary scheme

Louise Sloan, who benefited from our coach bursary scheme.