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Top-Up Initiative Gets Scottish Children Swimming

Top-Up Initiative Gets Scottish Children Swimming
22 September 2014 1360 Views No comments

Children in the Borders area of Scotland will now be able to learn how to swim as part of their school curriculum thanks to a new initiative. The 'Swimming Top Up' (STU) scheme will enable poorer children to benefit from free swimming lessons so that they can dive in and enjoy the water.

The programme, which is funded by Scottish Swimming and sportscotland, will allow Scottish children who live within walking distance of a swimming pool to access free swimming lessons for eight weeks of the year. These will be delivered as part of the school curriculum.

Borders Sport and Leisure, the organisation running the STU initiative, hopes to teach children from low-income families to enjoy swimming as much as those from more well-off backgrounds. Children are eligible for the scheme if they fall into Scotland’s Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).

"Swimming is a life skill and this programme helps us to support youngsters in SIMD areas who may not always get the opportunity to go to the pool," said Lesley Kennedy, swimming development officer for Borders Sport and Leisure.

Children from Eyemouth Primary School and Phiiphaugh Primary School in Selkirk, and Burnfoot Primary School in Hawick will be receiving swimming lessons at Eyemouth Leisure Centre, Selkirk Leisure Centre and Tevtiodale Leisure Centre thanks to the STU scheme. These will begin in late September.

"The STU programme offers us the chance to bring primary pupils into the leisure facilities in our care and provide them with the skills they need to learn to swim or improve their abilities in the pool," said Ewan Jackson, chief executive of Borders Sport and Leisure.

"I am sure many of us have fond memories of going swimming with the school and our staff will be working hard to ensure all the children involved find their swimming blocks both an enjoyable and rewarding experience."