Archived News - Swimming
It is all thanks to a £140 million Government initiative being run in partnership with local councils - including 36 in the East of England - to create a healthier, more active, nation and help get two million people more active by the time London hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.
The Government is investing £3.1 million in the next year to bring free swimming to the East of England - and more than £900,000 has already been allocated to improve pools in the region. And there is the certainty of millions of pounds more to ensure free access for the two age groups, with councils being able to bid for further funding to modernise facilities over the next two years.
Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said:
"The excitement is building with just one week to go and I hope young people - and those older in years, but still young at heart - are digging out their trunks and costumes, ready for 1 April. Free swimming will not only allow millions of people to reap so many health benefits, but ensure that local pools will be given a new lease of life at the heart of their communities.
"In these difficult economic times, it is great news that senior citizens can swim for free - and a real benefit too for children and, of course, their mums and dads.
"I commend councils of all political complexions who are working with us to make this exciting scheme a reality, often joining us in making a significant financial contribution to ensure its success. It is our hope that this is just the start and that in time free swimming becomes the norm across the country."
- In total 289 councils across England (81 per cent of the total) will be offering free swimming to the over 60s - 36 of them in the East of England.
- And across the country 206 local authorities (equivalent to 58 per cent) will also be providing it for children and young people who are 16 years of age or younger - 26 in the East of England.
- The initiative is guaranteed to run for at least two years - the period covered by the Government's current spending review.
- A full list of councils participating - and funding allocations - is available on the DCMS website
Barbara Follett, Regional Minister for the East of England, said "I hope that people all over the East of England will take this opportunity to get swimming. It is one of the best and most enjoyable ways to stay fit and healthy and now children and the over sixties can do it for nothing. So, get into your costumes and get swimming."
Source: Government Office for the East of England