Children across Hartlepool have dived into free swimming after a record number took advantage of an annual scheme.
The free swims initiative, run by Hartlepool Borough Council, has proved more popular than ever before this summer.
A total of 6,206 children under the age of 16 took part in the first 15 days of the scheme, which is an increase of 40% on last year’s figures for the same period.
There is still time for more youngsters to take advantaget, with sessions continuing to run every weekday at Mill House Leisure Centre, in Raby Road.
Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We are delighted that our free swim and transport scheme continues to be a huge success.
“This year so far, 6,206 children have benefited from free swims with 2,892 children travelling on the free buses.
We are delighted that our free swim and transport scheme continues to be a huge successCoun Christopher Akers-Belcher
“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 and gain confidence in the water, and is just one of many council initiatives to encourage our residents to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
“The summer holidays are already halfway through, so we would urge all youngsters across Hartlepool to take advantage of the free scheme before time runs out.”
The initiative will continue each weekday between 10am and 1.30pm until Friday, September 1.
However, this excludes Bank Holiday Monday, on August 28.
Priority is given to children to travel on free buses provided as part of the scheme, but youngsters not on buses can access free swims until the last admission, which is at 1.30pm.
Children under the age of eight must be accompanied by an adult.
Parents can accompany children on the buses for free, but a charge for swimming applies.
More information on the scheme 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 in the town.
The free swims scheme is now in its fifth year.
Last summer there was a record-breaking number of youngsters who took part, with more than 8,000 children taking advantage of the scheme.