05 Aug 2009

Londoners will be able to enjoy a summer of swimming by the Thames following yesterday’s opening of a temporary pool on the South Bank.

 Targeted at people with low confidence in water, the pool will provide swimming lessons for local school children and residents throughout August.  The British Gas Pools 4 Schools Summer Camp was opened by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Olympic Gold Medallist, Rebecca Adlington and has been made possible by a partnership with British Gas as part of its support for swimming in Britain.
With one in five Brits unable to swim, the South Bank pool will help teach people a vital life skill as well as improving fitness.
Pools 4 Schools™ powered by British Gas, is the brainchild of Total Swimming’s chief executive, former British swimming captain and Athens Olympic Bronze medallist Steve Parry, with support from the ASA. The programme provides temporary pools and swimming opportunities, in areas where children and their families find it difficult to access their local pools.
London Mayor Boris Johnson says: “British Gas Pools 4 Schools is a brilliant idea. This mobile swimming pool, with its unique riverside location, is sure to be a superb draw for the South Bank. With three years to go to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we must get Londoners young and old more active.

 “That's why, through the PlaySport London programme, I am investing in a range of initiatives to boost sporting participation in the capital, including our own new scheme to bring mobile pools to boroughs later this year. So my message to Londoners is to come and take the plunge.”

 Rebecca Adlington added:  'Getting kids swimming is so important. The British Gas Pools 4 Schools programme enables more kids to get in the water and get some coaching, even in areas where they don’t normally have access to pools. British Gas' commitment to grassroots schemes like this is crucial to the future of swimming in the UK.'
British Gas is also reinforcing its commitment to British Swimming at all levels, with the launch of its 10,000 Swimmer Challenge, getting 10,000 non-swimmers into the swimming pool and working with elite athletes to inspire participation. The announcement is only one element of British Gas’ £15million investment in British swimming over the next six years, creating a long-term partnership which extends beyond the 2012 Olympics.
Rick Vlemmiks, marketing director, British Gas says: ‘Swimming is a vital life skill and great way to keep fit, yet too many people in Britain can’t swim. We’re setting ourselves the challenge of getting 10,000 non-swimmers in the pool and swimming in the next year and we’ll be travelling the country with our mobile pools, to help people who don’t always have the opportunity to swim.
“We want to get Britain swimming from paddling pool to podium.”
“The focus of the Pools 4 Schools™ programme is, and always has been, to support young people in achieving the National Curriculum target of swimming 25m and to gain an understanding of
water safety,” says Steve Parry, who himself nearly drowned as a youngster, whilst on a day trip to London.
“We are delighted that British Gas, a prestigious household name has sponsored the programme. This additional support will enable us to target even more areas of aquatic deprivation and, in each location around the country, achieve greater penetration and awareness.”
The Summer Camp is situated adjacent to Gabriel’s Wharf on the South Bank, between two of London’s most recognised landmarks, The London Eye and Oxo Tower Wharf.  Developed in association with social enterprise, Coin Street Community Builders, it will include a temporary pool, plus a leisure and relaxation area, with bathing huts, deckchairs, refreshment kiosks and ice cream stalls.

Iain Tuckett, Group Director, Coin Street Community Builders, is similarly enthusiastic about the programme; “While we wait for our development of the permanent public swimming and indoor leisure centre adjacent to the National Theatre, we are delighted to facilitate this month of free swimming lessons and fun for our community, as part of our larger summer holiday programme.”
To book a swimming slot at the British Gas Pools 4 Schools Summer Camp,
please call 0844 357 2549.


For further press information contact: 
Shobha Nair, Sport Inter-Media Relations, tel 020 8971 4344 or 07768 875774 or email                                             

Elliott Grady, British Gas Media, tel 01784 878704 or 07789 579114 or email

The ASA is the English National Governing Body for Swimming, Diving, Water Polo, Open Water, and Synchronised Swimming. It organises competition throughout England, establishes the Laws of the Sport and operates comprehensive certification and education programmes for Teachers, Coaches and Officials as well as its renowned Learn To Swim Awards scheme. The ASA supports 1,220 affiliated swimming clubs through a National/Regional/County structure. The ASA aims to ensure everybody has an opportunity to learn to swim.
About British Swimming

About British Gas
British Gas, the biggest energy supplier in the country, has the lowest carbon intensity of any of the major UK energy suppliers in terms of tonnes of CO2 emitted per megawatt hour of electricity supplied to customers.  The company is one of the biggest investors in renewable power generation, principally offshore wind. Its recently completed Lynn and Inner Dowsing development, off the Lincolnshire coast, is the UK's largest offshore wind development. British Gas is committed to energy efficiency.  Our Energy Savers Report provides free expert advice on how you can cut energy use in the home and, in turn, save money.  So far, the report has shown over 2 million people how they could make an average saving of £175 a year.  To complete a report go to

About Speedo®
The world’s leading swimwear brand, Speedo® is passionate about life in and around the water, creating revolutionary new technologies, designs and innovations. Supporting swimming from grass-roots through to elite level, including the phenomenal Michael Phelps, Speedo® is owned by Speedo Holdings B.V and distributed in over 170 countries around the world; SPEEDO, the ARROW device, FASTSKIN, LZR PULSE, SPEEDO ENDURANCE, FLIPTURNS, FASTSKINFSII, SPEEDO BIOFUSE, SWYM and LZR RACER are registered trademarks of Speedo Holdings B.V. The LZR RACER suit has worldwide design rights and patents pending.

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The Kellogg Company was founded in 1906 and today produces 40 different cereals including popular brands such as Special K, Cornflakes and Coco Pops, and 56 different snacks including brands such as Nutri-Grain and Special K snacks. Kellogg's has been a partner of the ASA and British Swimming for 13 years, sponsoring the Kellogg's ASA Awards and enabling over 50,000 people to take up swimming as part of an active lifestyle.

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