Brio Leisure, the community interest company that runs the Northgate Arena, Epic Leisure Centre in Ellesmere Port, Christleton Leisure Centre and Neston Recreation Centre has launched a new campaign to get children swimming after research showed half of primary school pupils can’t swim the length of a pool.
Surveys by swimming’s governing body, the Amateur Swimming Association, also revealed only one in three seven- to 11-year-olds could swim by the time they left primary school.
Swimsuit producer Speedo also claimed that 10% of children experience accidents in water because their swimming skills aren’t up to scratch.
The figures have prompted Brio to launch a series of easy to access swimming courses designed to encourage more take up of swimming lessons.
Jane Wedgwood, Brio’s aquatics officer, said: “Swimming is a vital life skill and one all parents need to take seriously. Children can and do take risks. The recent heatwave saw five people drown in different parts of the UK after getting into difficulties while swimming in rivers.
“Learning how to swim is something that’s simply too important to ignore.”
The Epic Leisure Centre will launch daily weekday swim lessons from September.
Arena bosses have introduced cost-effective payment plans with free parking, a free child swimming pass and will offer merit awards to keep children motivated as they develop their skills.
Special parent and child classes have been created, aimed at babies and very young children. There’s also new Tots Lessons for slightly older children or those with more water confidence.
Mum Beckii Johnson has a one-year-old son Riley who is already enjoying water sessions.
She said: “It’s such a fundamental skill for children to learn and something he can call on throughout the rest of his life. My son is already adventurous at his young age I’d hate to think of him getting into difficulties while swimming because I didn’t encourage him to learn.”