MORE than 5,000 children have so far enjoyed free swims as a result of a summertime council initiative.
Youngsters under 16 can swim for free on mornings at the town’s Mill House Leisure Centre, in Raby Road, Hartlepool, each weekday until Friday, August 30 thanks to the scheme by Hartlepool Borough Council.
So far more than 5,000 children have enjoyed a free swim during their summer holidays and civic chiefs say they are delighted with the reaction to the scheme.
Labour councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of the council, said: “We are absolutely delighted by the success of this scheme - the take-up has surpassed all our expectations.
“I am sure that the council will want to give consideration to similar initiatives during holiday periods in the future to encourage young people to be active.
“Schemes such as this have major benefits in helping people to improve their health and general wellbeing.”
The council is also providing free bus transport to and from Mill House for under 16s with pick-up points at every school.
Both the free swims and free transport are on a “first-come, first-served” basis and children can also make their own way.
There will three bus routes, north, south and central, with two buses on each route on weekday mornings with the first buses setting off at 8.50am. Youngsters have an hour in the pool before getting back on the bus.
Council officials say anyone under eight must be accompanied both on the bus and in the swimming pool by a parent or responsible adult over 16 who will be required to pay the normal admission charge.
Bus timetable and more information is available at Mill House, Headland Sports Hall, Brierton Sports Centre, the Civic Centre, all libraries or by calling (01429) 223791.