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Fresh push on free swimming

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Councils that only offer free swimming sessions to pensioners have been given another chance to bid for Government cash to extend the opportunity to under-16s.

Culture secretary Ben Bradshaw said councils not offering free swimming sessions to any age group would also have a chance to join the scheme, using up to £1m not spent from the Government’s original £140m package launched in April.

“Most councils are working with us to make free access to local pools a reality, with many injecting money themselves,” he said.

“We want all of them to have a chance now - after seeing how successful it has been - to jump in and share the full benefits with their local communities.”

According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, more than four million free swimming sessions were taken up in the programme’s first three months alone.

So far, 259 councils are now offering free swimming for senior citizens, and 190 extending the offer to young people.

Sixty seven councils are not in the programme at all.

Authorities have until 8 September to bid to begin or expand their free-swimming programmes.

  • Meanwhile, it is reported that young swimmers staged a protest at the Anglesey Show against plans to close two of Anglesey’s three swimming pools.
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