The RNLI and Swim England are encouraging families to book children onto the free sessions after a Swim England report estimated 1.8 million children have missed out on swimming participation during the current academic year due to Covid restrictions.
Swim Safe sessions will once again be held at both Scarborough and Bridlington. To find out more and book your child’s free place, visit www.swimsafe.org.uk
Now entering its eighth season, the Swim Safe programme has already delivered free sessions to over 139,000 children across the UK, teaching them how to stay safe in and around open water and what to do if they, or someone else, gets into difficulty.
The sessions, which are approximately 45 minutes, are run by local partners with trained instructors during the summer months at outdoor water locations including beaches and inland sites such as water sports centres. To take part children will need to be able to swim 25 metres unaided.
○ Interactive water safety advice for parents and children
○ Up to 20 minutes in-water tuition with qualified instructors
○ Kit for swimming outdoors (including swimming hats, wetsuits and floatation equipment)
Sessions in Scarborough and Bridlington are funded by the Andrew McGeown Legacy Fund, set up by Donna Loveland following the death of her brother in 2015.
Andrew McGeown, aged 32, lost his life after entering the North Sea in Scarborough’s South Bay whilst attempting to save his dog.
Donna said: ‘The Swim Safe programme has been very successful. It’s a pleasure to be able to deliver such a valuable programme, and hopefully we will save many lives through the educational sessions.
“Andrew will always be remembered and loved thanks to the great legacy created with RLNI and Swim England and everyone who has supported us.’
Sam Johnson, National Water Safety Partner for the RNLI said: ‘We’re pleased to be able to partner with Swim England again and run free Swim Safe sessions this summer.
‘With Swim Safe sadly not running last year due to Covid, and swimming pools shut for much of that time, we’re encouraging all children between the ages of 7 and 14 to get involved and to build confidence in and around the water while learning vital lifesaving skills.’
Ashley Jones, Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Manager from Swim England said: ‘The new research has really highlighted the impact of Covid and how many children have missed out on swimming lessons during the pandemic.
‘Figures suggest that by the end of the 2020/21 academic year, 240,000 fewer children will be able to swim 25 metres compared to the previous academic year.
‘Given the last 12 months and with many choosing to stay local for summer breaks this year, it is even more important for youngsters to attend Swim Safe sessions, which provide crucial water safety advice.’
The RNLI and HM Coastguard have recently launched their beach safety campaign urging families and individuals to choose lifeguarded beaches after a new survey has revealed that up to 75% of people in the UK plan to visit the coast this summer.
Sam added: ‘We are expecting this summer to be the busiest ever for the charity’s lifeguards and volunteer lifeboat crews.
‘In addition to children joining in with Swim Safe, we want people to enjoy the coast but urge everyone to respect the water, think about their own safety and know what to do in an emergency.
‘Our main advice is to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.’