A succesful scheme aimed at getting families into swimming during the school holidays is set to be extended later this month.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s hugely successful summer free swims scheme is returning.
For the fourth successive year, children will be able to benefit from free swims and free transport on weekdays (excluding the Bank Holiday – August 29) from Thursday, July 21 to Wednesday, August 31.
The sessions are held atthe town’s Mill House Leisure Centre.
Last summer record numbers participated in the scheme which has been extended from four weeks to six weeks for 2016.
The scheme has proven to be a success since it was launched in 2013.
The scheme enables children under the age of 16 to swim for free and they can also take advantage of free council buses which pick up from every school across the town and then drop children back off afterwards.
Council chiefs say swimming is an excellent way for people to improve their fitness levels and the younger they get involved in sports the better.
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, the leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “The free swims scheme has been really popular since we launched it in 2013 and for this year we’ve decided to extend it from four to six weeks.
“Swimming is a great way of keeping fit and if we can encourage young people to be active early on in their lives, there is more chance that they will stay fit as they grow older.”
Parents are welcome to accompany children on the buses and in the pool, but a charge is levied for them.
Priority at Mill House Leisure Centre 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.
A leaflet with full details can be found in the centre of the latest Hartbeat magazine.
Alternatively, they are available at leisure centres, libraries and the Civic Centre.
Bosses at Hartlepool Borough Council say 6,369 children benefited from free swims last year - up from 5,147 in summer 2014.
Following the success of the scheme in the summer of 2014, the sessions were been extended by an hour to be held between 10am and 1.30pm.
Swimming is a healthy workout that can be done for a lifetime.
It is a low-impact activity that has several mental and bodily health benefits.
Swimming can provide a low-impact workout and builds endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness.