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Legacy project swimming lessons are hailed as a huge success

A project to offer free top-up swimming lessons to youngsters in three of the most deprived areas in London has been hailed as a huge success.

Five schools in Dagenham, Southwark and Enfield took part in the scheme, which aimed to increase the water confidence and competence of youngsters and set them on the road to a ‘lifelong love of swimming’.

The sessions were held as part of the first phase of London Legacy project, which aims to make aquatic sports more accessible to hundreds of people.

A total of 59 pupils were invited to the free top-up lessons and 93 per cent improved their swimming attainment towards National Curriculum targets over the course of the week.

Steph Gadd, Swim England programme officer – growth, who is leading on the London Legacy project, said: “The project has been a huge success! 

“The children who took part seemed to really enjoy the extra lessons and all of them made improvements over the week in terms of their water confidence and competence. 

“We’ve had great feedback from the parents and the schools too. 

Great idea

“Hopefully this project will be of the start of these children developing a lifelong love of swimming. 

“A big thank you to our delivery partners Everyone Active, Fusion Lifestyle and Enfield Council for helping provide this much-needed opportunity in London.”

Some of the children utilised their £20 voucher given to them as part of the scheme to access operator-led learn to swim programmes and one child was signposted to London Disability Swimming Club.

Relatives of youngsters involved in the project hailed it as a great idea.

One grandparent said: “I made my two daughters learn to swim when they were younger but we don’t usually take him (her grandson) ourselves. 

“Time and money stops my daughter from bringing my grandson more often. 

“When she heard about the scheme she thought it was a great idea and I did too as I thought it would give him more confidence. 

Confidence boost

“He was enjoying swimming lessons at school and has really loved these extra lessons.

“I think children need lessons. I can’t swim so that is why I made sure my daughters learnt. 

“It is a confidence boost when on holiday as they can do things like play games in the water and be safe.”

One dad said: “He (his son) was interested in swimming before but I’ve never really had enough time to bring him with things like work, so that is why he hasn’t been swimming so much. 

“The school lessons are just once a week. It is hard when parents are working, to bring kids to the pool but we made a real effort to come along this week for these extra lessons. 

“I think it is a great idea.”

Another parent added: “We usually go swimming as a family when it is warmer but I think I will take my son swimming more often now having watched him having the lessons this week.”

Value of swimming

Swim England, Swim England London Region, Everyone Active, Fusion Lifestyle, Enfield Council and the Greater London Authority are working together on the London Legacy Project.

The next stage of the project will focus on educating people from under-represented communities in Haringey about the value of swimming. 

Funding will be used to train local people to become swim teachers and lifeguards to help inspire more people into aquatic careers. 

Participants will be able to have a free swimming assessment, access bespoke learn to swim programmes and engage in fun taster sessions for water polo, artistic swimming and diving. 

There will also be a recruitment drive for new volunteers from the local area to ensure local clubs are diverse as the communities in which they exist.

Steph added: “I’m really looking forward to delivering the next phase of the London Legacy Project. 

“This will be a community engagement project which we are launching in Haringey next month in partnership with Haringey Council and four organisations that work with the local BAME community.”

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