Young swimmers are celebrating their return to swimming lessons– and at the same time are showing how healthy activities can return post-lockdown – with the reopening of six pools across Dumfries & Galloway.
Following months of closure caused by the pandemic, Dumfries & Galloway Council which operates six swimming pools throughout the region, hopes to facilitate the return of more than 1,200 children to the national Learn to Swim Framework.
The Learn to Swim Framework, a partnership between Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water, is delivered by Leisure Trusts and aquatic providers and enables children of all ages to become safe and confident swimmers.
Dumfries and Galloway Council will welcome back more than 1200 children between the ages of two and 12 to swimming lessons from 17th May 2021 – the first lessons in the area since pools had to close in December following an initial re-opening in September at the end of the first national lockdown.
Stuart Biggar at Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “Our staff and facilities are looking forward to re-starting our Learn to Swim Programme. The framework is very popular and after seeing how much the kids enjoyed their return to lessons in September 2020, we’re looking forward to seeing this again.”
New measures have been put in place, including social distancing, additional hygiene procedures, instructors teaching from poolside and children arriving to lessons ‘Beach Ready’ with their swimming costumes on under clothing.
Around 85% of the 39 Learn to Swim Framework providers are set to resume their programmes over the coming weeks, with the majority opening one or two pools in April.
The Learn to Swim partnership between Scottish Swimming and Scottish Water was extended for a fourth year in 2020 following its success in creating a 100,000-strong new generation of safe swimmers.
Euan Lowe, Scottish Swimming chief executive officer, said: “After a long period of various closures and restrictions, we’re thrilled to see children return to the water.
“It’s great to see their excitement and eagerness to get back into the water. We look forward to seeing lessons resume right across the country over the coming weeks.
“It is also encouraging to see the nation’s youngsters take a lead in showing that health and leisure activities can be resumed post-lockdown. We know from recent studies and advice from the World Health Organisation that the properties of chlorine make pool environments safe spaces during this pandemic to participate in sport and exercise.
“The Leisure Trusts and aquatic providers involved with Learn to Swim has shown what can be achieved when everyone works so closely and diligently together.”
Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs with Scottish Water, said: “It’s fantastic to be in a position now where we can restart the programme and enable more children to become strong and confident swimmers – especially in the lead up to summer.
“With our partnership with Scottish Swimming into its fourth year, we look forward to seeing thousands of youngsters continue to both start and enjoy their lessons.”
The Learn to Swim Framework is aimed at youngsters from birth to 11-years-old and provides consistently high-quality teaching which progresses through a series of lessons and levels over a number of years.
More information on the Learn to Swim Framework can be found on the dedicated website: www.learntoswim.scot