Youngsters will be able to swim for free during all Dudley Council school holidays at borough leisure centres under new plans.
It comes after a trial during the summer holidays last year that saw more than 14,000 children take advantage of the free offer. There were nearly 30,000 visits to Dudley Leisure Centre, Halesowen Leisure Centre and Crystal Leisure Centre in Stourbridge over the six-week period.
The initiative has now been extended to include all school holidays including Easter, half-term holidays and Christmas. It will not include inset, staff training and election days or May Day Bank Holiday.
The new scheme will start during the Easter holidays from Saturday April 13. Registration is open from April 1, although parents or children who registered last summer do not need to do so again and can use their previous code.
Children who live in the borough from babies right up to 16-year-olds will be eligible.
Councillor Qadar Zada, leader of the council, said:
We are delighted to be able to announce the extension of this initiative to take in all Dudley school holidays.
The figures from the summer show that there is a real demand for it, and it was encouraging to see from the statistics that well over a third who visited the pools were not normally regular swimmers.
We hope lots of children will take advantage of the offer.”
Councillor Cathy Bayton, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:
I want to make sure this is a really inclusive scheme and that all children, irrespective of background, take advantage of our free swimming offer.
We want families with younger children to not have to worry about spending loads of money, and to come along to the leisure centres together for a cheap and fun day out.”
Parents can register their children from Monday April 1 at www.freeswimindudley.co.uk. If children were already registered last summer they do not need to register again as codes can be re-sent if requested from the website. Further information, including FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) will be available on the website.