The role of lifesaving in community development, experiences from Indigenous Australia

TitleThe role of lifesaving in community development, experiences from Indigenous Australia
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsScarr, JP, Bradley, R, Associate Professor Franklin, RC
Conference NameWorld Conference on Drowning Prevention
Date Published09/2007
PublisherInternational Life Saving Federation
Conference LocationPorto, Portugal
Other Numbers01-20
Abstract

­Indigenous Australians are up to four times more likely to drown than the mainstream population. However, when compared to other health, social and economic distress being experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders lifesaving agencies struggle to attract the attention of Government.

Recent moves by the Australian Government to build swimming pools in remote indigenous communities, predominately due to well documented health benefits for children and links to increased school attendance, have created new opportunities to reach communities with drowning prevention programs. But first lifesaving agencies must be equipped to influence broader health, social and economic issues.

This paper explores the community development model being used by Royal Life Saving in communities across Australia. This model turns the humble swimming pool into a venue for the promotion of a wide range of health issues, leadership development, youth diversion and building relationships across community members and support agencies.

This paper will outline the opportunity to broaden the scope of lifesaving and lifesaving agencies whilst maintaining an eye on drowning prevention.

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