The Banbury mum flying the flag for working mums across the county
What began as a couple of weekly sessions at a pool in Northampton soon grew to an enterprise spanning three counties, more than 20 pools and 13 employees, many of which are based at Tamsin’s office on Middleton Road.
In celebration of Working Parents Day (Thursday September 16) Tamsin is proud to celebrate her fabulous team of busy, working mums and the wonderful women who support her to teach thousands of little ones to swim.
Tamsin said: “Working alongside such inspirational women means I haven’t had that dreaded Monday morning feeling in well over 15 years.
“I started Water Babies in November 2004. Before Water Babies, I worked for a field marketing company and I was forever commuting and away from home. I had two young children and I felt we were all missing out. Like so many other mums, I wanted to spend more time with them. I made what was, at the time, a pretty risky decision and changed career paths, retraining as a baby swim teacher.
“I’d had a bad experience as a child learning to swim and I swore my kids wouldn’t be afraid of water. At the time, I looked around for children’s swimming classes but was disappointed with what I found. Eventually, I found classes in London and I used to go all the way to London once a week for 40 weeks from Buckingham.
"The owner of that particular swim school asked if I would like to be a teacher so I qualified and became a swimming teacher. I started teaching locally and I was in the pool one day and a lovely little baby was sick on me – and that was my lightbulb moment! I thought, I need to be doing something for myself, spending more time with my own children and making a difference in my own community.”
The award-winning businesswoman is also proud to support other mums, like her, who want the best of both worlds - a rewarding career and time out with the family. In fact, the majority of Tamsin’s all female teaching and office team have little ones of their own.
Tamsin added: “Even in 2021, I think it’s pretty rare to employ an all-female team – something I’m proud to shout from the rooftops. Almost all of my teachers and office staff have little ones of their own, with most of them qualifying to work with me after bringing their own children to lessons, so I really value their feedback and professional opinions when it comes to growing the business. The business wouldn’t be where it is today without their passion and dedication.”
With a former electrician, a police community support officer and a care support worker amongst Tamsin’s team, the 13 swimming instructors employed by Tamsin bring with them a variety of experience.
Nic Dawkins – a fellow mum-of-two - was a Water Babies mum initially, bringing her two sons along to lessons from when they were just a few weeks old. When her hectic career and daily commute took away from spending time with her boys, Nic retrained and joined Tamsin in her mission of delivering water safety to little ones across North Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.
Nic said: “Leaving my two small boys at home for a long drive into London and an even longer day as a Maintenance Engineer became a real battle.”
“I felt guilty for being so far away and I was concerned I was missing out on part of their childhood. When I was growing up, I’d always wanted to be a teacher. So, I made a call to the Water Babies team and asked about teaching opportunities.
"I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of training as a Water Babies teacher before! To my delight, I passed the interview and was offered the job. I can hardly believe that was almost 10 years ago – and working alongside Tamsin has been one of the best things about being part of the team.”
For more information about Water Babies Bucks and Beds, visit www.waterbabies.co.uk/lp/baby-swimming/bucks-and-beds