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Free swimming a success in England and Wales

Free swimming a success in England and Wales
November 20, 2009

New quarterly figures released by the UK Government have shown an increase in the number of young people and senior citizens taking advantage of the $300 million free swimming initiative.

A total of 5.9 million free swims were taken at public swimming pools across the UK between July and September, compared with 4.4 million during the first quarter, with more than 250 local authorities currently signed up to the scheme.

During the three-month period, young people aged 16 years old and under made four million visits to pools, while 1.9 million people senior citizens took advantage of the free swimming initiative.

UK Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw said "more than ten million free swims so far - 5.9 million in the last quarter, including a hugely successful August - is testament to how this scheme is tapping into a desire among people, young and old, to get active.

"More councils are joining up and offering more people the chance to swim for free - and each and every local authority that is part of the scheme deserves credit for backing it, often with their own money as well, and seeing the benefits that free swimming can provide every day for local communities."

The scheme is being jointly funded by five government departments, and is being delivered in partnership with local authorities, the Local Government Association, Sport England and the Amateur Swimming Association.

Free swimming in Australia and New Zealand is a feature in the November/December 2009 issue of Australasian Leisure Management.

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