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Kids In The Swim – Thousands Sign up for Free Swimming
Tuesday 16th August, 2005

Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust’s ‘Freestyle’ initiative has people across the borough getting in the swim this summer. Over 17,500 children aged 16 or under have signed up to the scheme that enables all children with a ‘Lifestyle’ card to swim for free at any of the borough’s five public swimming pools.

Freestyle is one of the flagship initiatives of the Trust’s Getting Wigan Active vision. Getting Wigan Active aims to provide people of all ages from all social and cultural backgrounds with the opportunity to become more physically and mentally active.

Launched in April this year, Freestyle, has also resulted in all of the borough’s five pools witnessing a significant increase in the numbers of children and adults swimming as against the same period in 2004. In total, 16 and under swimming increased by 60 per cent in the council-owned swimming pools this June than in 2004, in some pools such as Howe Bridge Sports Centre, the figure was as high as a 90 per cent increase.

“What is most rewarding from these figures is the significant increase in the number of adults swimming as well as children. June has seen a 24 per cent increase in the number of adults swimming in the Wigan Borough as against last year. August’s figures are looking even more promising, for example Wigan International Pool’s numbers look like they will increase by about 70 per cent on last year,” says Martin Eden, Executive Director for Sport and Healthy Living. “The key aim of this campaign was to increase the number of children swimming and to give those people who already swam the chance to do so more regularly. It is great to see that this has had a positive effect on the number of adult swimmers to.”

In July, one of the busiest periods for all swimming pools, the figures also look impressive; the number of children swimming was up by 47 per cent against last year and adult swimming was up by 12 per cent.

Anyone aged 16 or under is eligible for a ‘Lifestyle’ card. Freestyle application forms are available from any of WLCT’s Leisure Centres, libraries or the Tourist Information Centre. For further information call 01942 486901 or see www.wlct.org/freestyle.

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