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Banff & District: Learn To Swim Programme

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Active Schools Non- and Weak Swimmer Learn To Swim Programme
Easter Programme 2009

Susan Mackintosh, Aberdeenshire active schools coordinator who organised and ran the programme told the Banffshire Journal:

"It's been a tremendous success. There were 55 children in armbands on the first Monday, and that was reduced to a handful on the last day. Everyone's confidence levels have increased tremendously. The evaluation of the students revealed that they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and they are more confident to swim by themselves. We are really appreciative of the support of the Banff and District Community Safety Group. Without their help this would not have been possible."

82 youngsters attended the daily swim training and exercise sessions at Banff Academy and Banff Swimming Pool. Each day they received swimming instruction and a physical activity workout at the Academy, and were split into smaller groups for 45 minute sessions in the pool. At the end of the two weeks, nearly all of the children had cast aside their armbands and were confident enough to swim unaided in the pool. Each pupil received a medal and certificate on completion of the course.

The aim of the Active Schools Non- and Weak Swimmer Learn To Swim Programme is to give every child in the Network between the ages of 10 to 12 the opportunity to Learn to Swim. This was the third year of the programme which provides an out-of-school-hours swimming programme for all non- and weak swimmers during the Easter Holidays. There are eight areas in the Network that will benefit from the programme (Aberchirder, Banff, Bracoden, Fordyce, Macduff, Ordiquill, Portsoy and Whitehills). The programme will include a swimming lesson followed by a physical activity session.

This project allows children from rural areas an opportunity to meet with peers from other schools in a fun and safe environment. As swimming is no longer a compulsory primary education activity, it is an ideal opportunity to target the non- and weak swimmers within the Banff Network to learn a key life-saving skill.

Swimming lessons are becoming more expensive and therefore low-income families may struggle to be able to support swimming lessons for their children. This project at least allows the children to develop the basic fundamentals of learning to swim.

The Banff & District CSG provided £1,125 to cover the instructor and staff costs and pool hire at Banff Swimming Pool. The programme was also sponsored by Sport Scotland.

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