A council-run free swimming scheme for local youngsters over the summer holiday period has proved to be a huge success.
Bosses at Hartlepool Borough Council say 6,369 children benefited from free swims this year - up from 5,147 in summer 2014.
Under the scheme, which was held for the first time in 2013, youngsters under the age of 16 could swim for free on weekday mornings at the town’s Mill House Leisure Centre.
Bosses are delighted with the increase.
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted that once again there was a great response from the local community to the free swims scheme.
“6,369 children benefitted from free swims – that is a 24% increase on 2014.
“Swimming is a great way to keep fit and we are delighted so many children benefited from the scheme.”
As part of the scheme Hartlepool Borough Council also provided free bus transport to and from Mill House Leisure Centre for under 16s with pick-up points from every school across the town.
Councillor Chris Simmons, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Children’s Services Policy Committee, added: “The free swims initiative has proved once again to be a huge success and it’s great to see so many people involved in a physical activity.
“The council is fully aware of the financial pressures facing many families which is why we introduced the scheme to make facilities like Mill House more accessible to all the community.”