Thousands of children access free swimming in Doncaster

Over 8,000 children from across Doncaster have received access to free swimming in the 2016/17 academic year thanks to Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust (DCLT).

The leading leisure provider’s free swimming programme means that all school children who have their educational lessons at DCLT venues can also attend free swimming outside of school during that academic year.

And even more youngsters will be able to benefit after DCLT announced it will continue with the programme for 2017/18.

Alex Barratt, aquatic development manager for DCLT, said: “We currently have 78 schools taking part in our educational swimming lessons which means over 2,000 kids from across Doncaster use our pools for school swimming lessons and can then also come swimming with us whenever they want for free during that academic year. The programme has been designed to give large groups of children access to swimming and then help them progress the skills they learn on our lessons.

“We also offer the programme, which has proved to be extremely popular, to children who take part in ‘learn 2 swim’, which are our paid for lessons outside of school, and involve an additional 6,300 children.

“Here at DCLT we are committed to providing accessible opportunities for children to learn to swim as not only is swimming an essential life skill to have but also great for fitness and overall health and wellbeing. To have been involved in helping approximately 8,300 children learn to swim during 2016/17 is something we are incredibly proud of.”

A recent report by the Swim England led Swim Group revealed that almost a third (31%) of all pupils leaving primary school this year in the UK did so without being able to swim and without basic water safety skills.

Added Alex: “We believe we are one of the first operators in the north of England to provide this kind of programme offering extra support to children who take part in educational school swimming lessons.

“For 250,000 children across the country to have left their Y6 school year without being able to swim is something that needs tackling. Here in Doncaster we are all working hard to try and teach as many children as possible to swim before they leave primary school which is not only important to us, but also a key driver for Swim England and SPORTA, the national association of leisure and cultural trusts.

“We are delighted to be continuing with the programme for the next academic year.”