Swimming programme makes a splash in Falkirk
Hundreds of pre-school children are being given the chance to learn to swim thanks to the success of a new teaching programme in the Falkirk area.
Falkirk Community Trust has expanded the number of lessons available to kids three to five years at its eight leisure pools in the region.
And this week the mother of one five-year-old girl who has successfully moved up the programme urged parents to take advantage of the opportunity.
Olivia Gow, from Reddingmuirhead Falkirk, had a dream swimming lesson at Grangemouth Sports Complex with Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European medallist Duncan Scott to celebrate the launch of the Learn to Swim framework in the region.
Olivia started swimming in the preschool programme, delivered in partnership by Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water, when she was three years old at Grangemouth Sports Complex, and has come on leaps and bounds ever since.
Cheryl Gow, Olivia’s mum, said: “It didn’t take long for Olivia to move on to the advanced preschool class, as the support she was given in the Learn to Swim programme was just fantastic.
“And now that she’s got her core skills, after meeting her swimming idol all she wants to do is ‘swim faster’.
“Olivia loves the water and would swim every day if she could. As a parent it’s very reassuring to know that I don’t have to worry about her when we’re on holiday or if she’s at the pool with friends.”
Falkirk Community Trust is now calling out for more three to five year olds to sign up to the programme which is operated at The Mariner Leisure Centre, Grangemouth Sports Complex and Bo’ness Recreation Centre.
Christina Mackenzie, Swimming Development Officer at Falkirk Community Trust, said: “As current pupils like Olivia are moving up a year, they’re leaving behind them some very sought after places in our pre-schoolers programme.
“As the programme was so popular and filled up so quickly previously, we’ve now expanded it and are committing to giving even more local children these fantastic lessons.
“We’d encourage anyone who’s interested to come forward, learn more about the classes and book their kids in before the spaces fill up.”
The Learn to Swim programme in Falkirk has taken on proportionately more pre-schoolers than any other council area in Scotland.
Forbes Dunlop, CEO of Scottish Swimming, said: “You could really see how having our Learn to Swim Ambassador, Duncan Scott, at Grangemouth last week inspired the youngsters and gave them a day they won’t forget.
“And thanks to the hard work of the Leisure Trusts and aquatic partners that implement our National Framework, we are encouraging children to swim for health, fitness and fun and we could even have our next Duncan Scott in the making.”
Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs for Scottish Water, said: “Working together with Scottish Swimming, we’ll be able to reach more than 100,000 young people in Scotland and equip them with the key life skills they need to be safe around our county’s lochs, rivers and coastlines.
“So, it is so important to catch children as young as possible so they – and their parents – realise how valuable, and enjoyable, learning to swim can be.”
The Learn to Swim Framework helps to create quality Learn to Swim environments for children from birth upwards where they can become competent, confident and safe swimmers with opportunities to progress through the aquatic pathway and to swim for fun.
There are already more than 53,000 kids – including 5,600 pre-school children – who are on the programme and the target is to reach 100,000 children across Scotland by 2020.
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