FREE SWIMMING FIGURES ON THE UP
27 Oct 2009
New figures show that youngsters and older people have taken up 5.9 million free swims during the second quarter of the Government’s Free Swimming Initiative, up from 4.5 million in the first quarter.
The Government has welcomed the latest official data that shows there were 4m free swims by people aged 16 and under, and 1.9m by over sixties, in July, August and September 2009. This is up from 2.9m and 1.6m respectively in the first quarter.
Reacting to the figures, Ben Bradshaw, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said: “This is a terrific vote of confidence in our free swimming initiative, which has really caught the imagination of people in every corner of the country.
'More than 10m free swims so far – 5.9m in the last quarter, including a hugely successful August – is testament to how this scheme is tapping into a desire among people, young and old, to get active.
'This scheme is part of the 2012 ‘dividend’ – a scheme inspired by our success in winning the right to stage the Olympics and Paralympics – and is going from strength to strength.
'More councils are joining up and offering more people the chance to swim for free – and each and every local authority that is part of the scheme deserves credit for backing it, often with their own money as well, and seeing the benefits that free swimming can provide every day for local communities.”
The initiative is jointly funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Department of Health, Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Communities and Local Government.
It is being delivered in conjunction with local authorities, the Local Government Association, the ASA and Sport England.
The ASA’s Chief Executive, David Sparkes, said: 'These figures show the power of swimming. They are outstanding results and demonstrate that the free swimming initiative can make a difference in making our nation more active and healthier. All the research pointed to a massive latent demand for swimming and this initiative seems to have put a light to the blue touch paper.
'We now need to keep this going by getting more people involved in swimming, having more fun together. I am delighted with the way the industry has reacted to this and we continue to work with them to make this the most successful initiative ever in getting people more active.'
CLICK HERE for full statistical data from the second quarter.
For more information on Free Swimming figures please contact Press Enquiries: 020 7211 6052/6277; Public Enquiries: 020 7211 6200.
For more information on the ASA’s involvement please call the ASA PR Manager Sharon Rose on 01509 632262, 07876 652318 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Local authorities CLICK HERE to see our FAQs about the Free Swimming Lessons Programme.