Pooled power in Walsall sees massive rise in young learner swimmers

Pooled power in Walsall sees massive rise in young learner swimmers

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(L- R) Jack Clifford, Swim Academy Lifeguard, Dan Fulton Swimming Teacher, Lianne Dougliss STA, Mum Maria Smith and her recently enrolled children: Cataleyah (5 years) and Austin (3 years) Cllr Garry Perry Walsall Council.

Leisure Services at Walsall Council have more than trebled the number of young learner swimmers using council pools, since they joined forces with the Swimming Teachers’ Association (StAand rebranding as a Swim Academy. The partnership between the Swim Academy and Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA) has lead to a 76% rise in enrolment on ‘learn-to-swim’ programmes at Bloxwich and Oak Park Active Living Centres, Darlaston Swimming Pool, and the Walsall Gala Swimming and Fitness Centre. For local people, this success has also translated into training more people to teach swimming and new employment opportunities at the centres.

Stuart Webb, Leisure Facilities Manager at Walsall Council, said; “Our collaboration with the STA is clearly working and they are experts in this field. As a service we are delighted that some 76% more youngsters from across the borough are now learning to swim. I cannot express enough how important this key life skill is, and the younger you learn the better it is. Without a doubt the improved programme is reaching and retaining these young learners and helping them on this important development journey.”

Zoe Cooper, Director of Swimming Teachers’ Association, Walsall added: “We know what works – so with our support, the leisure team at Walsall Council has been able to reorganise pool programmes to maximise pool space and increase occupancy. As a result, all its leisure sites have significantly increased capacity and offer a more comprehensive swimming lesson programme for young learners of all ages and abilities. These range from baby and pre-school swimming sessions, through to platinum awards for advanced swimmers and junior lifeguard courses.”
Councillor Garry Perry, Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure and Culture said; “These enrolment figures are excellent and the range of swimming programmes is impressive. Shared expertise from the Swimming Teachers’ Association (STA), following its tried and tested business models has really helped raise the profile of swimming lessons in Walsall and will enrich lives as a result. It doesn’t just start and end in the pool either, taking up any activity will benefit your health and mental wellbeing, whatever your age or ability and we want Walsall to embrace the affordable range of fantastic sporting options and Council facilities in the borough.”

To find out more about current young learner swimmer programmes and how to enrol visit https://go.walsall.gov.uk/leisure/Swimacademy