A Robert Gordon University (RGU) based initiative, Streetsport, is providing free lessons for Kaimhill Primary School pupils after government funding for their swimming sessions came to an end.
The Streetswim scheme, which is run by the Denis Law Legacy Trust Streetsport programme and in partnership with RGU SPORT, aims to help Primary 7 pupils in Garthdee gain confidence in the pool before they move to secondary school.
RGU SPORT helped facilitate the sessions by offering swimming pool time through in kind support. The first session was held earlier this month at the RGU Sport Pool and attracted 30 pupils from the primary school.
According to Mark Williams, Streetsport Development Officer, 24 of the children who took part needed additional coaching from Streetswim and RGU Swimming Club volunteers as they are not yet able to swim unaided.
He said: “Being able to swim is a life skill everyone should have, as such the Denis Law legacy Trust Streetsport programme in partnership with RGU Sport are delighted to be able to provide this free of charge opportunity for young people to build their confidence around water and more importantly learn how to swim.
“We have a fantastic team of like-minded volunteers lined up who are taking on all aspects of this programme from support in the water and designing swim programmes to additional lifeguarding and on land support.”
Established in 2006, Streetsport delivers free weekly sport and creative activities for young people throughout Aberdeen, and aims to reduce instances of youth crime and anti-social behaviour.
Hannah Leslie, RGU SPORT and Physical Activity Development Officer said that they are delighted to work together with Streetsport to support the children in gaining highly important life skills through the Streetswim program.
She said: “With the fantastic work of the Streetsport and RGU SPORT volunteers, we believe that the children involved in the programme will have a positive and fun experience in the swimming pool and hope that this will leave them water confident before they move on to their secondary school journey.”
The initiative comes after the Scottish Government pulled funding from its £1.72m ‘Top Up’ swimming program which supported local authorities to deliver swimming lessons for pupils.
Paddy Jenkins, President of RGU Swimming Club, said: “We believe that swimming can provide a fundamental life skill for a person of any age. Swimming allows a sense of freedom, safety and unlimited health benefits.
“As members of the university swimming and water polo team we experience these benefits regularly and feel that it is only right that we ensure that all children are able to swim upon leaving primary school.”
Up to 40% of primary seven pupils heading to secondary school are non-swimmers, according to Scottish Swimming.
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