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Swinton Lock Activity Centre

Based in a unique canal-side setting Swinton Lock Activity centre provides much needed arts and environmental activities for children and young people, many of which can lead to qualifications via AQA, ASDAN and NOCN. Activities include boat handling, park and garden maintenance, fishing, arts and crafts, multi-media and spray can art.

Our aim is to provide positive activities for children and young people in an area where such opportunities are scarce, offer children and young people a safe environment in which to gain skills, confidence and qualifications in order to enable them to engage positively with schools, colleges and training providers to enhance their chance of employment as adults.

Swinton Lock is a unique learning centre with long experience of working with children and young people who struggle in a formal learning setting. Based on the canal in Swinton it offers a wide range of exiting accredited learning programmes including spray can art, angling, boat handling, park and garden maintenance, multimedia and tailor made learning programmes for young people with complex needs. Young people aged 10 – 18 can be referred to this programme and the Centre is used by schools and behavioural support teams throughout the Borough. Activities are also provided throughout school holidays and after school.

The aim of the Centre’s learning programme is to enable young people with a negative experience of learning in traditional settings, for a range of reasons, to re-engage with learning, increase self-esteem, confidence and social skills and raise their attainment, first by achieving on the programme at the Centre and then by increasing attendance and attainment at school, college or in employment


We offer arts and environmental activities for children and young people who face barriers to learning in the traditional setting.
All our activities are aimed at increasing confidence and social skills as well as qualifications via NOCN, AQA and ASDAN.
Young people are referred to us from schools, social services, youth offending teams, behavioural support teams etc. We also organise after school and holiday activities.

Activities include fishing, boat handling, spray can art, arts and crafts, multi-media, park and garden maintenance

Partnership working

We work in partnership with a wide range of schools and behavioural support services in supporting the young people they refer to our  programme, attending their reviews, informing them of qualifications achieved and in obtaining and giving information to monitor the young person’s progress.
We work in partnership with social services when ”looked after” young people are referred to our services, by attending reviews and sharing information about progress. All our services are delivered in partnership with other organisations involved with the young person  and their families.

Comments from beneficiaries & partners

“I am writing to support the work done at Swinton Lock. We use the  centre to develop the self esteem and behaviour management of three  of our most difficult pupils. The enjoyment and development the  children receive is excellent. They are animated and motivated by the  activities experienced at the centre and are well guided and cared for by  the staff. These children in school find it difficult to access the  curriculum and are often disruptive and they very rarely show  enjoyment in their work.”

 Head teacher St. Thomas C of E School, Kilnhurst.

 “Rawmarsh school students from Y7 to Y11 have accessed re- engagement programmes at Swinton Lock. The activities and facilities  are first rate. WE would like to thank you for the hard work and support  you and your team give to our school and the young people of  Rawmarsh. We are extremely grateful for the many and varied positive  activities and experiences you provide to our students. Long may it  continue!”

 Learning Team Leader Rawmarsh Community School


Every Child Matters Outcomes

Stay Safe

From Accidents

From maltreatment, abuse or exploitation

From violence

From bullying and discrimination

From crime or anti-social behaviour

Be Healthy

Be physically healthy

Be emotionally or mentally healthy

Be sexually healthy

Have a healthy lifestyle

Choose not to take drugs

Enjoy and Achieve

Be ready for school

Attend and enjoy school

Achieve educational standards at primary level

Achieve educational standards at secondary level

Enjoy recreation

Achieve Economic Wellbeing

Engage in further education, employment and training

Be ready for employment

Live in decent homes and communities

Access transport and material goods

Live in households free from low income

Make a Positive Contribution

Engage in decision-making

Support the community or environment

Choose not to offend, re-offend or engage in anti-social behaviour

Choose not to bully or discriminate

Develop self confidence and enterprising behaviours

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Company Limited by Guarantee No: 5037431.
Registered Charity No: 1103160.

Swinton Lock Activity Centre provide short breaks for disabled children and young people.

Contact Details

Dun Street, Swinton, Mexborough, S64 8AN
T: 01709 578778

Geographical area served

  • Wentworth North
  • Wentworth South
  • Wentworth Valley
  • Rotherham North
  • Rotherham South
  • Rother Valley West
  • Rother Valley South

Age ranges served

  • Secondary 11-13
  • Secondary 13-16
  • 16-19


Swinton Lock Activity Centre employs 14 staff.

Certificate of Education PGCSE NVQ Teaching qualifications NVQ Angling Coaching qualifications University degrees


Swinton Lock Activity Centre has 14 volunteers.

This is worked out with each staff member in their annual appraisals and regular supervision sessions. But in general they would include: First Aid Health and safety Safeguarding Working with challenging young people


358 young people aged 13 - 16+ 233 under 13


• Unique setting on the South Yorkshire Navigational Canal offering an unusual range of accredited and non accredited activities. We are able to provide learning as an alternative curricula or after school and in school holidays. • Flexible approach to learning where young people attend voluntarily and have choice as to what they attempt and achieve. • Activities delivered in small groups or one to ones, depending on needs of participant. • The staff are experienced at working with young people with a range of needs and difficulties. • Activities delivered in an inter-generational setting, alongside classes of adult learners, so the provision is not “ghettoised” for young people who are seen as “problematic”. • We have a dedicated team of volunteers who also work with young people, alongside paid staff, particularly on the boat handling and angling activities.

And for the Future...

We are raising funds to buy an accessible boat with lifts for use by disabled young people and wheelchair users, to extend the range of services we can offer to disabled young people.

Additional information

  • Nominated Child Protection Officer
  • CRB checks

Policies in Place

  • Child Protection Policy
  • Equality & Diversity Policy
  • Health & Safety Policy
  • Recruitment & Selection Policy
  • Safe Lone Working Policy
  • Data Protection Policy
  • Volunteer Policy
  • Complaints Procedure
  • Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure
  • Environmental Policy
  • Disability Discrimination Act Compliant
  • Marketing/Publicity Policy
  • Business Continuity Policy

Quality Systems in Place