More than £16,000 has been pledged by Fleetwood Town Council over the next four years to ensure youngsters will be able to use public swimming facilities for free.
The town council agreed to ring-fence a four year funding project from 2019 to 2022 to subsidise free junior swimming at the town’s YMCA Leisure Centre pool and also at the nearby Marine Splash play area.
The scheme, specifically for Fleetwood youngsters aged 16 and under with the town’s FY7 post code, will see an investment from the council of £4,243 each year, for four years.
And the town councillors who proposed the scheme, Coun Cheryl Raynor and Coun Norah Stuchfield, have also agreed a deal with housing group Regenda to contribute an additional £1,500 per year, over the same period.
The town council stepped in as a similar scheme, funded by the town’s Lancashire County Council member for Fleetwood East, Coun Lorraine Beavers, will not continue after County Hall axed local members’ grants.
Councillors at the Fleetwood body agreed unanimously to back the ambitious grant.
Coun Raynor, who represents the council’s Pharos ward. said: “It is a win-win situation in every way.
“It makes sure the children get exercise and stay fit. It will keep them out of trouble or hanging around street corners.
“And if it saves ones child’s life because they learn to swim, it will be worth it.”
The free sessions at the YMCA pool will run for children over school holiday periods only, and for all those occasions that the Marine Splash is open.
The Marine Splash features fountains, water jets and a paddling area and normally costs £2 for those aged four to 16.
Families will need to prove residence in Fleetwood by providing the necessary documents, such as utility bills, and the youngsters must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or suitable adult.
Meanwhile, the town council has approved various grant requests.
Fleetwood Sea Cadets unit has been granted £2,000 to update and replace the base’s specialised entrance and door.
The Willow Garden Project received the same amount for a new activities shed and the Friends of the Memorial Park were similarly granted £2,000 to enable an exciting new outdoor cinema project at the park.