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Thousands flocked for free swimming, figures reveal

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More than 14,000 youngsters took advantage of free swimming over the school summer holidays, it has been revealed.

There was nearly 30,000 visits in total to the three borough leisure centres – Dudley Leisure Centre, Halesowen Leisure Centre and Crystal Leisure Centre in Stourbridge – over the six-week period, which ended on Sunday.

Dudley Council bosses announced the initiative in July in a bid to encourage youngsters to stay active, keep fit and help beat the boredom during the lengthy school break. Children who live in the borough from babies right up to 16-year-olds were eligible.

One child went swimming 32 times for free, the figures show, with youngsters on average visiting twice over the six-week break.

Well over a third (38 per cent) of those who took advantage said they were not normally regular swimmers.

Councillor Ruth Buttery, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said:

I am absolutely delighted and over the moon with these figures.
I am particularly pleased that so many children who do not swim regularly, and therefore probably would not have gone, took advantage of the offer.
You can’t take a mobile phone into a swimming pool, and I hope a lot of borough families got to spend some quality time together as a result of this offer.
As a council we are very keen to promote initiatives that encourage children in our borough to stay fit, active and healthy.
I’d really like to thank all of the staff who worked so hard to make this happen, they have all been magnificent.
We will look at the finances over the next few months and see if it is something we can offer again, as the statistics show there is certainly a demand for it.

The figures showed 75 per cent of visits were to Crystal Leisure Centre, 15 per cent to Dudley Leisure Centre and 10 per cent to Halesowen Leisure Centre.

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