Free summer swimming for Hartlepool children

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A POPULAR free swim initiative is set to be rolled out again in Hartlepool this summer.

Last year almost 7,000 children enjoyed free swims over the summer holidays as part of the innovative Hartlepool Borough Council scheme which was hailed a huge success.

The scheme meant children under the age of 16 were able to swim for free on mornings at the town’s Mill House Leisure Centre, in Raby Road.

Now, once again, Hartlepool youngsters will again be able to benefit from free swims during the school summer holidays.

Last summer 6,911 children took advantage of the free swims with 4,197 travelling on the free bus service provided by the local authority.

Buses pick up from every school across the town en route to the Mill House pool and then drop children back off after their free swim.

Council leader, Christopher Akers-Belcher, said: “The free swims scheme last year was really popular and I am delighted that we are able to repeat it this summer.

“It is really important that we encourage children and the young people of our town to take part in recreational activities.

“Swimming is a great way to keep fit and if we can encourage all young people to be active in their early years there is more chance of them staying fit and healthy as they grow older.”

Coun Akers-Belcher has previously said the scheme had surpassed all expectations at the local authority.

This year the free swims will operate on Mondays to Fridays from August 4 to August 29, excluding the Bank Holiday Monday on August 25.

Council officials say the free swim sessions will be held from 10am to 12.30pm. Priority will be given to those travelling on the free buses. This year’s scheme is being funded thanks to an unexpected cash boost.

This year Hartlepool Council accepted a confidential lump sum from the owners of the Sports Domes in exchange for the release of the authority’s financial interest in the development.

Bosses at the Domes, in Tees Road, said it will allow them to secure further investment in the site while the council agreed to ring-fence the money for a number of projects, including the free swims.

For more details about the initiative call Mill House Leisure Centre on (01429) 223791.