It is unfortunate that a previous Volunteer, Mr Steve Birchmore, has a grievance with DSS-GB and it has been brought into the public domain. We feel due to the one-sided nature of the comments and the factually incorrect information, that we should clarify our position.
Mr Birchmore was asked to stand down after his continued misconduct over an incident on Facebook. At the time, Mr Birchmore was serving an active disciplinary notice. His continued misconduct, supported by the terms of the disciplinary notice, led to the decision to remove Mr Birchmore from any Voluntary role within DSS-GB. This motion was made by the previous Trustees. New Trustees were appointed in April of this year and in light of further evidence of misconduct, they agreed that the motion to remove Mr Birchmore from any active sub-committee or management role would not be revoked.
Mr Birchmore has taken umbrage with DSS-GB asking him to remove or change the name of his FB page, which impersonates the DSS-GB official page. On this page, in February of this year, Mr Birchmore stated: “This page is not governed by the Charity DSS-GB and we do not speak for them.” Mr Birchmore’s refusal to change the Facebook page name to reflect its ownership has undoubtedly led to confusion. Now, unpleasant and factually incorrect information is being deliberately shared on social media platforms by way of retaliation.
This is the DSS-GB OFFICIAL FB page:
This is the Birchmore Facebook page
The facts responding to some of the social media posts you may have seen, are as follows:
DSS-GB have not stopped anyone who was selected to compete in Canada from swimming for us.
A full selection process was followed by the DSS-GB coaching staff, of which Mr Birchmore was a panel member.
For any swimmers not selected, an appeal process was offered to them and their families.
To date, no appeals for any swimmers, unsuccessful in the selection process, have been registered with DSS-GB.
Mr and Mrs Birchmore chose to withdraw their son Billy from the DSS-GB team selected to compete in Canada.
It has been formally acknowledged by DSISO that the responsibility for Billy not swimming in Canada lies with his parents.
Both DSS-GB and DSISO have encouraged Mr & Mrs Birchmore to resolve this issue to allow Billy to compete in Canada as part of team DSS-GB, to no avail.
DSS-GB will be supported by a poolside team fully qualified with appropriate and recognised coaching and safeguarding qualifications.
DSS-GB will continue to work closely with the various sporting bodies and partnership agencies to deliver opportunities to all members, volunteers and families in a respectful, safe, fair and transparent way.
We apologise for any confusion that may have been caused. We believe it would not be helpful to respond to individual comments on social media platforms. Any individual correspondence relating to matters contained within this statement should be sent to Mrs Cristina Bowman, Chair of Trustees Down Syndrome Swimming GB at the following email address