More than 100 primary school children from the Cheltenham and Tewkesbury area learnt how to swim and stay safe in the water – in our annual Swim for Summer campaign.
Every day for five days at the end of March, small groups of nine and ten-year-olds from 15 primary schools, received intensive, half hour coaching sessions by qualified swimming tutors. Each group had the same tutor throughout the week and the low ratios of instructors to children, ensured pupils progressed quickly – and often received one-to-one support.
The lessons helped some non-swimmers take their first strokes in the water and encouraged nervous pupils to gain confidence and swim competently.
Now in its fourth year, the ‘Swim for Safety’ week is funded by us and organised and co-ordinated by the Cheltenham and North Tewkesbury Schools Sports Network (SSN). It is aimed at helping Year 5 and 6 pupils master the basics of swimming and to be safe in the water.
For the first time the scheme was extended to include five primary schools from the Tewkesbury area and was open to Year 5 pupils from all schools – previously Year 6 only.
Paul Wood, Chairman of Heidi’s Heroes, said: “It is fantastic to know that through the SSN we are providing the necessary swimming expertise and developing courage in more than 120 local children who need it most. The project expands each year and I know Heidi, who became a swimming teacher herself, would be extremely pleased and proud of what is being achieved here.”
Jeanette Quinn from the Cheltenham and North Tewkesbury School Sports Network (SSN), said: “The model we have set up with Heidi’s Heroes is both unique and successful. All the pupils who take part make significant progress. The pool activities are fun, build confidence and enable children to relax and progress their swimming skills at a rapid rate. Many achieve a distance badge which they would not have done without this intervention.
“The scheme builds on the schools’ national curriculum swimming programme and is part of a wider focus of getting children to enjoy being physically active. Swimming is particularly important because of the safety risks of not being able to swim, or be safe in and around water.”
Heidi’s Heroes pays for swimming tuition from ASA accredited coaches as well as pool time at Leisure@Cheltenham and Tewkesbury School.
The week culminated with a free swimming morning and certificates presentation at Cheltenham’s Lido Pool, where delighted youngsters received their Heidi’s Heroes certificates and goodies for their hard work.