More than 11,000 children have been registered already for free swimming at Dudley’s three borough leisure centres over the school summer holidays.
Dudley Council bosses said they were delighted the offer – announced last week to encourage youngsters to stay active, keep fit and help beat the boredom – had made such a big splash.
It allows free admission after registration at Dudley Leisure Centre, Halesowen Leisure Centre and Crystal Leisure Centre in Stourbridge during public swimming times. Children up to and including the age of 16 who reside in the Dudley borough are eligible, and the leisure pool at Crystal is also included.
Free swimming will start on Saturday and finish on Sunday September 2, the day before most children return to school.
Councillor Ruth Buttery, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said:
I am absolutely delighted so many children have been registered for free swimming since we announced the initiative a week ago. As a council we are very keen to promote initiatives that encourage children in our borough to stay fit, active and healthy.
It is safer to swim at your local leisure centre, supervised by lifeguards, rather than unsupervised in open water such as lakes, canals and reservoirs. We also hope it will lead to quality family time spent together – you can’t take phones or tablets into a swimming pool – with the offer of a cheap, fun day out. If you haven’t already I would urge parents and children to get signed up – and get swimming.”
Registration must be completed in advance and parents can sign their children up in advance. They will then be issued with a QR code which can be scanned every time they visit one of the leisure centres.
Families without access to a computer or the internet can sign up at any of the borough’s libraries. Children who register before Saturday will automatically be entered into a free prize draw to win an annual junior membership at the three leisure centres.
Sessions outside of public swimming times, such as Aqua Run at Halesowen, are not included and children will have to pay as normal for those.
Particularly at Crystal, children and families are advised to turn up early to avoid queues during peak times.
Children aged eight or over may enter the pools unaccompanied. All children under the age of eight must be accompanied into the water by an adult or responsible person over 16 years of age. One adult may accompany up to two children under the age of eight.