Northern Ireland news

Kids can swim for £1 in Belfast leisure centres for next 10 days

Swimming is a life-saving essential skill
Mairead Holland

CHILDREN can swim for £1 in leisure centres across Belfast over the next 10 days as part of a scheme to encourage people to become more active.

The aim is to double the number of visits to council pools to 1.5 million per year by 2030.

Other targets include increasing the number of people learning to swim and encouraging more women and over 60s to take to the water.

The council has already seen a 24 per cent increase in swimming lessons over the last year in its seven pools.

The targets are part of an aquatics strategy launched yesterday at Olympia Leisure Centre by lord mayor councillor John Finucane.

It has been developed by Belfast City Council in partnership with Active Belfast Limited and GLL, the social enterprise which runs the council's 14 leisure centres.

Mr Finucane said: “Underpinning the strategy is council’s £105 million leisure development programme which will see seven new leisure facilities built over a 10-year period.

"These five-star facilities will be available at three-star prices so that they are accessible to everyone in the city.”

Gareth Kirk, regional director at GLL, said: “More than 5,000 people are learning to swim in our pools each week through the Better Swim School and school swimming lessons, and we want to see this double in the next 10 years, teaching an important life skill and also inspiring young athletes in the city."

Pictured at Olympia Leisure Centre are, left to right, Gareth Kirk, regional director of GLL, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane, and John McGuigan, chair of Active Belfast Limited. Picture by Darren Kidd

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