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Free swimming returns for February half-term with new rule

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Free swimming is returning for children in the borough over the February half-term break – but youngsters will now have to be accompanied by an adult.

With the pool at Halesowen Leisure Centre currently closed for refurbishment works, the offer will be available at the new Duncan Edwards Leisure Centre in Dudley and Crystal Leisure Centre in Stourbridge.

It will run from Saturday February 19 to Sunday February 27 inclusive and any child aged 16 or under living in the borough can sign up.

For the first time, young people taking advantage of the free swimming offer must be supervised by a responsible adult aged 18 or over. They do not have to accompany children over the age of eight into the swimming pool, but must remain in the leisure centre and be contactable should any issues arise.

Children under the age of eight must be accompanied into the water by an adult or responsible person over 18 years of age. One adult must accompany no more than two children under the age of eight into the swimming pool.

Children aged 16 and under who turn up unaccompanied will be charged the normal admission price.

Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member responsible for leisure centres, said:

I welcome the return of the free swimming initiative, which always proves hugely popular over the school holidays.
As we can only operate the scheme at two pools instead of three at the moment, and we are unable at this time to offer advance bookings, I would advise that there could be long queues to get in and that demand may very well outstrip supply.
We are looking into whether a booking system can be introduced for future holidays.
Unfortunately, we have had to make a change requiring young people to have a responsible adult with them. I would urge parents to familiarise themselves with the new rules and make arrangements to accompany their children to avoid any disappointment on arrival.
The change has been made due to anti-social behaviour during the last school holidays, which is a huge shame but we do need to ensure our staff and our facilities are treated properly.
We will review how things go over February half-term and assess what we do moving forwards for the Easter and Whitsun school holidays.

Councillor Ruth Buttery, cabinet member for children and young people, said:

I am delighted to see free swimming back for February half-term, as we work as a council to be child-friendly.
Swimming is a great way for children to be active and have fun and I would urge families to take advantage of this and have a great day out together at the pool in Dudley or Stourbridge over the half-term holiday.

To register you or your child for free swimming, or to find out more, visit www.freeswimindudley.co.uk.

To find out pool opening hours, go to www.dbleisure.co.uk.

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