A council-run free swimming scheme for local youngsters during the summer holidays is continuing to be a huge success.
The number of people using Hartlepool Borough Council’s free swims initiative has risen by 47% compared to last year.
Now in its fifth year, the scheme enables children under the age of 16 to swim for free.
In the first ten days of the scheme, 4,409 Hartlepool children under the age of 16 and 829 adults visited the town’s Mill House Leisure Centre, in the town’s Raby Road.
The scheme operates on weekdays between 10am to 1.30pm until Friday, September 1, excluding Bank Holiday Monday, August 28.
Council chiefs are delighted by the take-up of the scheme.
It is hoped that it will get youngsters involved in activity and creating a lifelong healthy lifestyle.
Councillor Kevin Cranney, Deputy Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We are delighted that once again there has been an incredible response from the local community to the free swims scheme.
“In the first ten days of the scheme, 4,409 children have benefitted from free swims with 2,125 children travelling on the free buses.
“We’ve also had many parents accompanying their children on the buses or making their own way to Mill House to swim with their children, which is very encouraging.
“Our free scheme enables local children to swim in a safe environment, while keeping active and having fun.
“If we can encourage all children to be active in their early years, there is more chance of them staying fit and healthy as they grow older.
“We would urge all youngsters across Hartlepool to come along and take advantage of the free scheme before the end of the summer holidays.”
Priority is given to children travelling on the free buses but children not on buses can access free swims until the last admission at 1.30pm.
Children aged under 8 must be accompanied by an adult.
Parents can accompany children on the buses for free, but a charge for swimming applies.
More information can be found at www.gethartlepoolactive.co.uk, while a leaflet with full details and bus timetables can be obtained from the Civic Centre and all leisure centres and libraries.
The leaflet can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/2uilWyz.
Last summer there was a record breaking number of youngsters who took part with more than 8,093 children taking advantage of the scheme throughout the school holidays.