Fifty free swimming lessons will be offered to every primary one pupil in the Lochgelly and Cardenden council ward.
Earlier this year Fife Council’s Cowdenbeath area committee agreed to fund the pilot project that will entitle over 180 primary one pupils, who attend schools in the Lochgelly and Cardenden ward, to free lessons.
Fundamentally it’s a great way to encourage children to be more active.Councillor Mark Hood
Councillor Mark Hood, executive committee member and a councillor for the Lochgelly and Cardenden ward, said: “Being able to swim is an important life skill and this trial will help us to assess the impact that removing the cost barrier for families could have.
“We see this as an important part of our children’s learning and will be linking their achievements in the pool to their wider development in the classroom.
“But fundamentally it’s a great way to encourage children to be more active and give them the opportunity to access a wide range of water-based sports.
“Our studies suggest that it takes around 50 lessons for children to become competent swimmers and confident in the water. We’ll be monitoring the uptake, progress and results from the pilot project to determine the implications of widening out the offer.”
Parents in the pilot area are being invited to register their child for the swimming lessons, which are due to begin in January. They will be offered once a week at a choice of four swimming pools – Lochgelly High School Community Use, Cowdenbeath Lesiure Centre, Bowhill Swimming Pool and the Michael Woods Sports & Leisure Centre in Glenrothes – and will be delivered by qualified instructors.
Cllr Hood encouraged parents and guardians to take up the offer.
He added: “Reintroducing the funding for free swims for school children during the summer holidays a few years ago has proven to be a popular move.
“It’s hugely important that we continue to make progress in helping children and young people to be regularly active and for us to reduce the barriers for them to access sport and physical activity.
“Swimming lessons can be costly for many families and we estimate that this pilot scheme could save parents around £200 per child.
“I’m sure all eyes will be on Lochgelly and Cardenden in the coming months to see what we can gain from offering such an opportunity to our young primary pupils.”
The primary schools included in the pilot area are Denend, Lochgelly South, Lochgelly West, St Ninians RC, St Patricks RC and Cardenden.