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ASA ‘disappointed’ but realistic over decision to cut Free Swimming

The ASA said today it was ‘disappointed’ but realistic over the DCMS decision to cut Free Swimming for over-60s and under-16s.

The ASA has expressed its disappointment that the Free Swimming initiative will stop shortly, but acknowledges tough funding decisions have to be made by government.

Funding for free swims for over-60s and under-16s will end this summer as part of £73million in public spending savings announced on Thursday 17th June 2010 by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

David Sparkes, Chief Executive of the ASA, said that while the ASA was disappointed to learn that Free Swimming will stop shortly, it recognises that in the current economic climate the government needs to prioritise spending.

He said: “Free Swimming has brought many new people to swimming and has helped to drive up significantly attendances in pools and has made an impact to the activity target.

“We will now work with Local Authorities, Primary Care Trusts and pool operators to see how we retain these new customers and encourage more people to swim.”

He said that the ASA had learned a lot from the initiative and it would now be seeking urgent meetings with both Sport England and the Dept of Health to see how it can build on the Free Swimming legacy.

“Swimming remains the number one participation sport and also remains the one activity people will consider as they step up their activity levels.

“Swimming can and will continue to work with government to ensure that there is a lasting legacy from this programme and we contribute significantly towards the target of 1,000,000 more people more active in sport as a legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” he said.

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