Hundreds of kids making a splash as Swim Safe comes to Birmingham for first time
Hundreds of children are swapping the swimming pool for open water and making a splash as part of an outdoor safe swimming scheme brand new to Birmingham.
Around 400 school children from Birmingham and the wider region are flocking to Salford Park this week for Swim Safe, a free programme of outdoor swimming and water safety sessions for children aged between seven and 14.
The sessions come in perfect time for the summer holidays and organisers from the RNLI and Swim England hope the skills picked up in the sessions will prove vital for youngsters from the Midlands heading to the coast in the coming weeks.
Swim Safe teaches children aged 7-14 how to stay safe when swimming outdoors, which is often more challenging than swimming in a pool. The programme was created jointly by Swim England, the national governing body for swimming in England, and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the charity that saves lives at sea.
Sessions are being held at Aston Reservoir in Salford Park for five days this week (Monday 10 July – Friday 14 July) and places are fully booked.
The hour-long Swim Safe sessions are run by qualified swimming teachers and qualified lifeguards, supported by a team of trained volunteers. The first 20 minutes covers land-based safety and then it is into the water for practical tuition with a swimming teacher. Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with a t-shirt are all provided. Children must be able to swim at least 25 metres to take part.
Charlotte Francis, Swim Safe Area Co-ordinator, said: ‘Children love swimming outdoors – but swimming in the sea, rivers and lakes is more challenging than swimming in a pool where most lessons take place.
‘Swim Safe helps children learn to keep safe when swimming outdoors, so they know what do if they get into trouble. And because Swim Safe sessions are free and fun, they are a great activity for children aged 7-14 from Birmingham who might be holidaying on the coast this summer.’
Swim Safe coming to Birmingham is the latest step towards making water safety education a priority across the region’s schools in 2017. It follows a new educational partnership between Birmingham City Council and the RNLI launched in March which aims to deliver every school pupil within the Birmingham area at least one water safety session.
Since Swim Safe started in 2013 (with just one site in Bude), over 18,000 sessions have taken place across the UK. Now in its fifth year, the programme continues to grow and in 2017, Swim Safe sessions will take place at 20 sites across the UK including beaches, lakes, reservoirs and other inland locations.
Notes to editors:
The attached photo is a stock Swim Safe image. Pictures from Birmingham will be available later.
For more information please contact Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West, on 07748 265496 or 01745 585162 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Swim Safe
Swim Safe was created jointly by Swim England and the RNLI to help children aged 7–14 stay safe when enjoying swimming outdoors. It was launched in 2013 in Bude and is now delivered to the public and schools at over 20 locations across the UK.
This year Swim Safe is being delivered in partnership with Scottish Swimming and Swim Wales. It is also being supported nationally by the Swimming Trust, and the Swim Safe schools programme is being supported by Norton by Symantec.
About Swim England
Formally known as the Amateur Swimming Association, Swim England is the national governing body for swimming in England. It helps people learn how to swim, enjoy the water safely, and compete in all aquatic sports.
Swim England’s vision is of a nation swimming and it strives to inspire everyone to enjoy the water in the way that suits them. Each month millions of people are able to enjoy swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming, having been through the Swim England Learn to Swim Programme.
Swim England also supports its members, clubs and athletes, and runs qualification and education programmes to develop the workforce. For more information visit swimming.org/swimengland
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.