Free swimming for children to continue

From The Argus –

Free swimming sessions are set to continue at the Prince Regent Swimming Complex

Thousands of children and teenagers can continue to enjoy free swimming.

Brighton and Hove City Council is one of only a few local authorities in the country to offer the service.

The Government introduced the scheme for all councils in 2009 but stopped funding it in 2010.

However the city has kept it going, with the council investing £108,000 a year.

It works in partnership with Freedom Leisure to offer the facility for people under 16 who live in the city.

The scheme continues to be popular with more than 23,000 people registered on to it.

Between last April and March, there were 44,000 free swimming sessions.

Chairman of the council’s economic development and culture committee Alan Robins said: “I am delighted that the free swimming sessions are continuing for another year.

“A healthy lifestyle is important and swimming is a fun way to encourage children to take part in physical activity.

“Living in a seaside city also means that swimming is not only an enjoyable activity but a life-saving skill.”

Free swimming is part of a range of sports and activities available in the city which are available to help encourage children to get healthy and reduce obesity.

Figures published by the National Child Measurement Programme show 19.8 per cent of reception and 26.1 per cent of ten and 11-year-olds in Brighton and Hove are overweight or obese.

This is lower than the average for England, which is 22.1 per cent and 34.2 per cent respectively.

However health bosses want to reduce numbers even further and believe offering free swimming is a good way to help with this.

Dealing with the health effects caused by being severely overweight costs the NHS in Sussex about £460 million a year.

The council works with Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, Albion in the Community, and Freedom Leisure to help people boost their activities and have a healthy diet.

The aim is to prevent obesity happening in the first place by focusing on the whole family rather than just the children.

This includes giving parents the skills to have the awareness and information they need to make healthy food choices.

Children are also given lessons on the subject at school.

Brighton and Hove also has a SugarSmart campaign, which works to raise awareness of the hidden sugar levels in food.

It also encourages businesses to add a sugar-levy to food in a bid to encourage people to cut down.

The campaign has been backed by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: