A landmark partnership which has helped to create a 100,000-strong new generation of young, safe swimmers is being extended for a fourth year, in a move that aims to further boost the confidence of children around water.
Over the last few years, the Learn to Swim Framework has benefitted children from almost every region of Scotland, thanks to the successful partnership between Scottish Water, Scottish Swimming and Aquatic Providers across the country.
Scottish Water’s decision to form an initial three-year partnership was instrumental in allowing the Framework – which has Scots swim heroes Duncan Scott and Toni Shaw as its Ambassadors – to be rolled out across Scotland more quickly than planned.
Duncan Scott commented: “I am delighted to continue supporting this important programme which will see thousands of children learn to swim, an essential life skill, as pools gradually begin to re-open across Scotland.”
Toni Shaw said: “I am very proud to be an ambassador for Learn to Swim and really look forward to seeing children get back in the water over coming weeks and months as it is so important for kids to learn this life skill.”
In early March it was revealed that nearly 106,000 kids had signed up to the programme over the three years, surpassing the target of 100,000 two months ahead of schedule.
The move into a fourth year will help promote swimming lessons in local authority areas across Scotland as pools begin to open and children can return to the water to learn an essential life skill that can keep them safer in and around water.
Euan Lowe, Scottish Swimming chief executive officer, said: “We are pleased that pools finally have the green light to re-open over coming weeks and we are delighted that Scottish Water has continued its support of the Learn to Swim Framework helping us to achieve two incredible milestones this year – extending the Learn to Swim partnership into 2021, and exceeding our target in February 2020 of teaching 100,000 children to swim ahead of our original ambitious deadline.
“Continuing our valuable partnership with Scottish Water means that more children can learn to be confident and competent swimmers, equipping them with the skills needed to be safe around water.
“We are incredibly proud to continue the partnership – I’d like to thank Scottish Water for their ongoing support, and the Leisure Trust and Aquatic Provider partners who will be delivering lessons across Scotland.”
The initiative is a key part of Scottish Swimming’s National Framework for Swimming in Scotland which aims to provide quality environments for children to learn to swim.
Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs with Scottish Water, said: “Learning to swim is such an important safety skill and it’s vital the basics are learned at an early age.
“With the outstanding success of the programme, it made perfect sense to continue the partnership for a fourth year.
“Everyone should be able to enjoy Scotland’s rivers, lochs, reservoirs and shorelines safely and with confidence – we’re looking forward to seeing the programme continue to provide young people with a valuable life skill.
“The Learn to Swim programme partners perfectly with our Your Water Your Life campaign – it’s a great way to show how water is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, from keeping hydrated to swimming in your local pool as an ideal form of exercise.”
With pools given the green light to re-open from 31st August, Learn to Swim lessons will return over the coming weeks and months in a phased approach across Scotland.
Lessons were put on hold during the Coronavirus lockdown, but these are set to start up again gradually in each area when pools are able to re-open.
The Learn to Swim Framework is aimed at youngsters from birth to 11-years-old and provides consistently high-quality teaching at least once a week and which progresses through a series of lessons and levels over a number of years.
More information on the National Learn to Swim Framework can be found on the dedicated website: www.learntoswim.scot