Last summer, more than 900 people were able to improve their swimming skills and confidence in the water thanks to the borough’s free swimming lessons. This year, the programme has been extended to include more weeks, including the May and October half-term weeks, with an additional 1,000 places. Lessons are available for under-3s accompanied by an adult, children aged 4-16, and families. The sessions will take place during the summer holidays, as well as the May and October half-term breaks. They will help each pupil to learn to be safe in and around the water, developing their skills and strokes to become confident swimmers. Lessons can be booked via GLL’s website, or for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org. A timetable of lessons for over-60s will be confirmed soon. All council pools run by GLL – namely Archway Leisure Centre, Cally Pool and Gym, Highbury Pool, and Ironmonger Row Baths - are taking part. As part of a commitment to removing the barriers that prevent people from engaging in swimming and water safety, the council and GLL are currently hosting two six-week long programmes at Cally Pool and Gym for people that are underrepresented in swimming. The programmes are pilots, which came about following a successful application to the Tackling Inequalities Fund through London Sport. They include providing suitable swimming attire for those need it, including swim hats from Soul Cap which are specifically designed for long hair, dreadlocks, weaves, extensions, braids, curls and afros.
Cllr Nurullah Turan, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Health and Social Care, said: “We’re determined to create a more equal Islington, where everyone – regardless of their background – has the opportunity to be healthy and active. “Our fantastic swimming pools are vitally important for physical and mental health, and we’re really pleased that more than people than ever will be able to benefit from free lessons this summer. “With Covid-19 restrictions having eased, Islington is open this summer – and we’re encouraging local people to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that our pools, leisure centres, parks and open spaces can bring.” Tyron Fuller, Partnership Manager for GLL in Islington, said “We are proud to be partnering with Islington Council to offer an extended free swimming programme this year. “Swimming is an essential life skill and we believe everyone should have the opportunity to learn and enjoy their local pools. These lessons are a great way to improve your skills, water confidence and stay active over the school holidays”.