Watersports centre to donate parking fees to children’s swimming lessions

Youngsters enjoying swimming in the sea

Youngsters enjoying swimming in the sea - Credit: Matt Austin

Exmouth’s new watersports centre has announced half of all parking fees collected this year will be donated towards swimming lessons for children. 

Sideshore will be working closely with primary schools, parents of home-educated children and the Dixon Foundation in supporting those needing additional swimming training. 

Those children identified as needing support will be offered a free six-week swimming course to boost their confidence in the water. 

Swim England, the national governing body for swimming, say 23 per cent of children leave primary school unable to swim 25 metres unaided. For some children, if they do not learn to swim at school, they will not learn the lifesaving skill.  

Simon Findel-Hawkins, centre manager at Sideshore, said: “We want to see more children safely enjoying the water, whether that is at their local swimming pool or on the beautiful Exmouth coast trying a new sport. 

“Schools do a fantastic job teaching children these essential skills and this initiative will expand this teaching to children who need it most.” 

Mark Dixon, founder, ofThe Dixon Foundation, said: “The Dixon Foundation are delighted to be working closely with Sideshore, Swim England, and LED Community Leisure to help provide essential swimming lessons to children, so they can enjoy swimming safely and confidently. 

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“Sideshore offers an amazing opportunity to learn a new sport, and we hope these free lessons will provide more children the chance to take part and be passionate about enjoying what our coast has to offer.” 

A spokesman for Swim England, said: “Swimming is the only activity you can do at any age and at any ability but, almost one in four children cannot swim the statutory 25 metres when they leave primary school, and so this fantastic new initiative will enable local children, particularly those in deprived areas, to learn to swim unaided. 

“The long-term health and wellbeing benefits of swimming include lowering stress, anxiety, and depression, improving heart health, lung capacity, and bone strength.  

“Regular swimming is also recognised as helping to reduce long-term health conditions including diabetes and heart disease.” 

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