British Naturism members may be aware of complaints that we have received, followed by a specific incident, over the last few days in connection with the fact that children were being allowed to attend our BN Blackpool weekend swim at The Sandcastle waterpark.
‘Anti-grooming’ groups who purport to protect children from harm, voiced their disgust at the event and roused their many supporters to post similar comments online, many on BN promotional pages and to send us direct messages. Many of the messages were aggressive, foul mouthed and ignorant. A small group of protesters attended the beginning of the swim and hassled the queue of waiting people. The groups appear to be planning similar protests at other Naturist swims and there is a petition at change.org aiming to ban children from all Naturist events. A cyber attack was also threatened and so we decided to make the BN website members only temporarily.
We’ve attended a meeting with the Police and are currently working on how to action their advice. They have stated categorically that they have no issue with Naturist events, nor children attending and are fully supportive of our organisation.
Here is a statement that we issued to media sources last week:
British Naturism is an organisation that has been in existence for over 50 years with many of our clubs being even older. We have a membership of 9,000 over 18s. Naturist family swimming has been in existence for decades in the UK and there are Naturist families into their third generation.
We take our safeguarding and health and safety responsibility seriously and review and adapt our practices in advance of every event we run. We have a robust child and vulnerable adults safeguarding policy. It was developed in conjunction with the NSPCC and is reviewed annually.
We also have a strict ‘no cameras’ rule with any photographs taken to record the event being taken by our official photographer, who follows certain guidelines about what images can be captured.
Children are safer in Naturist environments as they are never allowed to attend unaccompanied and are always supervised by parents or guardians, unlike schools, churches, scouts, play areas and other venues where parents often opt to leave their children in the care of others.
Most Naturist swims are in public venues hired for the purpose and have been run for many decades and new venues are being added all the time. The Sandcastle session is not an isolated event - Naturist swims are being successfully - and safely - run all around the country throughout the year.
A Naturist environment inspires freedom, body positivity and has been proven to make people happier, improving mental health and well being. It is a positive family lifestyle.
We’ll keep everyone posted. In the meantime, tempting as it is, please try not to engage with any of the people making the comments. However reasonable, logical and sensible your comments may be, they do not appear to be interested in anything other than having a platform for their views.
It’s not all bad news - earlier in the day, also in Blackpool, we hosted an extremely successful naked rollercoaster ride and we believe we have broken the world record for the number of naked people riding. It attracted many enthusiastic newcomers. The rollercoaster event - and the BN weekend in general - has gained us some positive and high-profile media attention.