Following a successful campaign, Councillor Annwen Daniels, Blaenau Ffestiniog has succeeded in ensuring that brand new swimming lessons take place for a group of children with disabilities at Blaenau Ffestiniog swimming pool.
Blaenau Ffestiniog Councillor Annwen Daniels with swimming pool staff and some of the youngsters attending the lessons
In a special pilot, Councillor Daniels hopes that the scheme will be spread to other leisure centres across Gwynedd in the future.
“Swimming is one of the essential life skills and a way of keeping healthy and fit,” explains Councillor Annwen Daniels, who represents Bowydd, Rhiw and Tanygrisiau residents at Blaenau Ffestiniog on Gwynedd Council.
“I believe that every child across the county should have the opportunity to learn to swim through access to reasonably priced swimming lessons, at local leisure centres.
“For some time, I’ve been pushing the Council to facilitate swimming lessons for a group of children with disabilities because the mainstream swimming lessons are not suitable for them. There was an opportunity for parents to pay for one-to-one lessons for children with disabilities, but these lessons can be expensive and not all families can afford the cost.
“I've been working with Gwynedd Council's leisure service officer to see what the Council could facilitate. I was delighted when I found out that the Council had agreed to start a pilot scheme at Bro Ffestiniog swimming pool to see how the lessons develop.
“A half-hour swimming lesson is now being held for a small group, of up to six children, every week at Blaenau. Staff are great with the children and the youngsters themselves are having fun and enjoying being taught with other children in the group.
The cabinet member with responsibility for Gwynedd’s recreational activities, Councillor Craig ab Iago, said: “I’m delighted that the idea of creating a special swimming lesson for children with disabilities to learn an important skill, came about because of local families’ demand. The staff with responsibility for the leisure service in Blaenau are to be commended for discussing ideas with the community and working together to provide provision that is viable, convenient to the area and for families.
“We hope to expand the provision to other areas after the pilot phase, so that the vision of Plaid Cymru Gwynedd and Councillor Annwen Daniels will be realised countywide.”
Councillor Daniels concluded: “The current lessons will be held until the end of July and if they are popular, it is hoped they will continue in September. Consideration will also be given to providing the lessons in other leisure centres across the county during the new 2018-2019 school term.”
If families are interested in applying for a place at the special swimming lesson at Bro Ffestiniog, contact the Leisure Centre on 01766 831066