Sandwell Splashes Out On Free Swimming

Plans to extend a free swimming scheme, which has seen nearly 200,000 swims taken by children and older people in Sandwell, are being floated.

Councillors are being asked to approve continuing the free swimming sessions for Sandwell residents aged 60 and over and children aged under 16.

Free swimming was launched in Sandwell in June 2013 and since then 6,366 adults and 23,129 children and young people, who meet the criteria, have become members of the scheme.

Since April 2015, when the scheme was extended for a further two years 64,557 swims by residents aged 16 and under were recorded and 107,471 swims by residents aged 60 plus. The scheme allows adults, who are Sandwell residents, aged 60 and over to swim without charge during public swimming sessions, for seven days a week before 1pm, all year round.

And it also allows for children and young people, who are Sandwell residents, aged 16 years and under to swim without charge during public swimming sessions, for seven days a week, during school holidays only.

Free swimming has been available to Sandwell residents at Haden Hill Leisure Centre, Langley Swimming Centre, Smethwick Swimming Centre, Tipton Leisure Centre, Wednesbury Leisure Centre and West Bromwich Leisure Centre. Councillor Preet Gill, cabinet member for public health, said:

“Just 30 minutes of physical activity or sport each week has significant health benefits and this scheme is all about helping Sandwell people keep active and well. Being physically active reduces the likelihood of having a stroke, reduces blood pressure and promotes mental health and well-being.”

Councillor Richard Marshall, cabinet member for leisure, added:

“Free swimming is proving really popular with lots of older people and children and is a great way to encourage people to get and to stay fit. Thanks to free swimming Sandwell is one of only sixteen boroughs in England to achieve a statistically significant increase in sports participation rates.”

The report before cabinet on March 22 recommends approving the scheme, which will cost £202,153 to run for one more year, to continue.


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