London,
29
March
2009
|
00:00
Europe/London

Thousands more to swim for free in Hackney

From April 1, thousands of residents can swim for free at Hackney’s leisure centres thanks to a new scheme.

Youngsters aged 18 and under already have access to free swimming during school holidays but for the first time, residents aged 60 and over, plus under 18s, can swim for free all year round.

The local scheme is delivered in partnership between Hackney Council and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as part of a national initiative to get more people active in the run up to London 2012 and contribute to improving their health. The DCMS scheme is for swimmers aged 16 and under and 60 and over, however, the Council has extended access to free swimming in Hackney by also funding 16 to 18 year olds.

Cllr Nargis Khan, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “The Council is pleased to build on the success of our under 18s free swimming scheme by offering even more local residents opportunities to swim.

“Thanks to our investment in local sport and leisure services the numbers of visitors to Hackney’s leisure facilities is growing all the time and I urge local people to take advantage of this offer.”

The introduction of the local scheme was welcomed by Age Concern Hackney. Olexandra Stepaniuk, Chief Executive, Age Concern Hackney said:“Our own Age Well programme has shown first-hand the very real benefits that regular exercise can bring for older people, but it can be expensive for those on tight budgets. I very much welcome the Council’s move to offer free swimming for the over 60s so that many more of them can access this form of gentle exercise as well as the chance to mix and socialise.”

Local pools participating in the scheme are Kings Hall Leisure Centre, Britannia Leisure Centre, and Clissold Leisure Centre. GLL, a not-for-profit leisure operator, manage the centres for Hackney Council.

Mark Sesnan, GLL Managing Director, said: “The scheme will impact on everyone from non-swimmers dipping their toe into the water for the first time, to competitive club swimmers. Not only is swimming an essential life skill, but also a social and healthy recreational activity that can be enjoyed by all members of the family regardless of age or fitness level.”

Over 60s and existing leisure centre members do not need to register, just come along at one of the advertised free swimming times. Non-members can register online or at participating leisure centres. Proof of age will be required. Once successfully registered, applicants will receive a membership card entitling them to free swims.

For more information visit the Hackney Council website: www.hackney.gov.uk or the GLL website: www.gll.org