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City council to provide free swimming lessons for children in care

Ladywood swimming pool
Published: Tuesday, 6th December 2022

A new initiative by the city council is to help children in care learn to swim.

Funding has been identified to enrol up to 200 children on a 10-week course of swimming instruction at swimming pools around the city that are operated by Birmingham Community Leisure Trust.

The lessons will be for children and young people aged between one and six, so they have the opportunity to build water confidence in advance of school lessons. Lessons will also be available for children and young people new to care in secondary school and newly arrived young people including children from Ukraine who have not yet learnt to swim.

Cllr Karen McCarthy, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “This is a wonderful initiative. Swimming lessons are crucial for any child, at any age, but it is also a fun way to stay active and encourage healthy living from an early age. Swimming lessons can also create a love and respect for water early on, while building confidence that will stay with children for the rest of their lives.

“With a significant number of children in care coming from families with neglect they have often missed out on the opportunity to learn water confidence in early years and school absence may also mean that they have missed swimming lessons in their primary school. It is also a great way to make new friends and improve social, emotional and mental health.”

Andy Couldrick, Birmingham Children’s Trust chief executive, said: “This is great news for children and young people to learn the important skill of being able to swim confidently. This initiative will help many children, while relieving pressure on the household budgets of their carers.”

The project will be run by the Birmingham Virtual School in conjunction with Birmingham Children’s Trust and  is funded by the virtual school.

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