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Free swimming lessons for Brighton and Hove teenagers
Thousands of teenagers will be able to enjoy free swimming sessions for another year.
The scheme is being funded by Brighton and Hove City Council as part of continuing efforts to help children lose weight and live more healthily.
There were 32,777 free swims at council pools across the city between April 2013 and the end of March. Bosses hope even more will take up the offer over the next 12 months.
The £132,000 cost of the project is being met by the council’s sport and leisure and public health departments.
The council’s public health lead, David Brindley, said the success of the scheme showed how effective it was as part of a package of ways to encourage young people to get more active.
He said: “Children who enjoy physical activity, and develop those basic skills early in life, are more likely to continue being active in later life and perform better in school.
“As kids love splashing about in water, giving them free access to swimming is a great way to get them started, making physical activity a lifelong habit.”
The latest figures available show the number of ten- and 11-year-olds in Brighton and Hove found to be obese has fallen, although health bosses say there is still a way to go.
The National Child Measurement Programme shows 13.5% of Year 6 pupils weighed in the 2012/13 school year were obese, compared to just over 15% the year before.
They also show 7.5% of four- and five-year-olds in Reception classes in the city are obese, which is about the same as the year before.
The number of children classed as overweight is also falling.
Children can register to swim for free at weekends and on bank holidays, after school and during school holidays.
Sessions are run at the Prince Regent swimming complex and St Luke’s community school in Brighton and the King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove.
Free swimming was introduced five years ago as part of a Government scheme but when funding ran out the city council and local NHS joined forces to keep it going.
For more information about a range of other free sports events and activities for children across Brighton and Hove, visit www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/sports- development.
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