Swimming lessons to help young people become ‘water aware’ and reduce the risk of drowning

MBTC Swim lessons
MBTC Swim lessons

A rise in the number of deaths due to people swimming in local quarries or rivers has prompted an awareness campaign which includes swimming lessons.

The lessons, available to people in Bedford, were organised by Beds Fire and Rescue and Bedford Borough Council in a bid to educate young people who might be tempted to swim in open water.

The initiative is being highlighted to coincide with Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Week with a number of activities going on around Bedford to make people more

“water aware”.

A council spokesman explained young people are at greater risk of drowning due to swimming lessons not being available on the school curriculum. They are also susceptible to peer pressure and can be tempted into open water during the hot summer months, particularly in locations where there is no adult supervision or lifeguards present.

Councillor Sarah-Jayne Holland Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said: “Being able to swim can instil people with confidence throughout life. Whatever the situation people

find themselves in, whether that be by being on a boat one day or when simply wading into the sea on holiday, it’s empowering to know you are able to swim. By

helping to ease people into swimming at a young age, it stops them from seeing it as a hurdle in later life.”

Gary Jeffery, BFRS Head of Community Safety, said: “To help encourage young people to learn to swim and become more responsible around open water

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service contributed £5,000 to provide swimming lessons to students at Bedford Academy, and others where it had been identified

that a large majority of young people were unable to swim. From January 14, 20 Year 8 pupils attended Robinson Pool for weekly lessons over a ten week

course.

“BFRS Community Safety Team also delivered talks on water safety; this formed part of school assemblies during the week commencing 25 January 2016 and was

provided to the whole school.

Visit www.bedsfire.com for details of events and more information.