A quiet revolution has been going on in the deep south of England. Eastbourne Naturist Swim Club was formed around 1985 - no one can remember exactly when. Initially a swim was organised at Newhaven, but for most of the club's existance we swam at the Edwardian built Motocmbe Pool in Old Town Eastbourne.
A couple of years ago a young lady contacted us to say that she was doing a photography degree and was doing a project on 'subcultures' for her final year. She said that she had been born and raised in Old Town and had never heard of Eastbourne Naturist Swim Club until she saw an article in the Eastbourne Herald. Up until then I had not thought of naturists as a subculture. In fact the Cambridge Dictionary defines subculture as 'a group different from the rest of society stereotyped as uneducated, uncultured and prone to antisocial or immoral behavior'. As naturists are a cross-section of ordinary society this definition does not seem to be a compliment!
So we have a ambition to bring naturism out of the shadows to gain the attention of the public, mainly using the media, but also organising naturist events in public and private spaces. Our club has never had a space to call its own so to do the things that are culturally acceptable, like going to the beach, going for a walk, visiting an art gallery, swimming in an indoor pool, tenpin bowling and so on all have to take place in the open, so to speak. Where we hire venues we are often segregated from the masses on way or another, but we are usually free to report on our events to the media. So 'naturists go to a resturant for dinner' seems to be a public interest story. I am not sure I would want to read about our next door neighbours popping down the pub for steak and chips - except our pub was closed for over 2 years!
In the process we are currently writing a new Constitution for our club and have renamed ourselves East Sussex Naturists. We already have many members from outside of Eastbourne willing to travel some distance to enjoy healthy recreation where your strata in society is no handicap to making good friends and enjoying yourselves. In contrast to the unhealthy attitude that non-naturists seem to have with their bodies, you will also fit in whatever your shape, size, colour, age, ability etc.
Most people take most of their clothes off to swim. Becoming a naturist is hardly much more, but the benefit to your well-being will make you feel like a new person.
Our prime event this year is to the the Naked Heart Walk carried over from last year and planned for this July 3rd. This event is targeted at both practised and new naturists and those curious to take part and see what it is all about, all taking place in the safe space at Painshill Park in the evening.
Getting Naked has become the surprisingly 'in thing' to do in Australia - read about how they generated 100,000 follows on Instagram in 2016 at https://getnakedaustralia.com.au/about-us/ and their interesting observations on the motivations of the people that joined in. You've got to try it once - but be aware that it can be hard to revert to revert to a textile - that's what non-naturists are called, hardly complimentary but it is hard to tell whether a dresed person is going to be friendly or unfriendly. Undressed people are always relaxed and always friendly - it's a (sub) cultural thing.