LABOUR MAKES A SPLASH IN THE NORTH

Figures released today show that all the North’s local councils have taken up government money to offer free swimming for the over 60s and the under 16s.

 

As part of the Labour Government’s drive to increase participation in sport, local authorities have been able to apply for government money to open up their swimming pools for free to pensioners and young people.

 

All 27 local councils across the North East and Cumbria have applied for cash to open their public swimming pools to the Over 60s. Whilst 19 authorities have also asked for government support to provide free swimming for the under 16s.

 

Nationwide, 82per cent of local councils have signed up to take part in the Government’s £140m scheme.

 

Local Authorities who have opted into the scheme will also benefit from a share of a £10 Capital fund to spend on modernising or improving pool provison in time for the start ofd the two-year scheme in 2009.

 

Assistant to the Regional Minister, Roberta Blackman Woods MP said

 

“I’m delighted that so many councils across the North East and Cumbria have signed up to the Government’s commitment to deliver free swimming for young people and the Over 60s. Getting people active and involved in sport is key if we’re to tackle the long-term health problems facing the region. I know from my constituency that many families can find swimming very expensive. This is a practical step that will make a real difference and underlines the Government’s commitment to make sport available to all.”

 

 

Children's Minister Baroness Morgan said:

 

"This is a major step toward every child being able to swim, where they want, when they want. Swimming is one of the easiest ways of getting fit and being a strong swimmer is potentially life saving. Free provision builds on our successful £5.5m programme to get every 11-year-old swimming at least 25 metres unaided and means they can carry on growing in confidence for life."

 

James Purnell, Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions said:

 

"Last year, for the first time there were more people aged over 65 than children in the UK. Old age should be enjoyed and not endured so it is more important than ever to encourage a more active and vibrant ageing society. Free swimming for people over 60 is great initiative which is why my Department has contributed £22million over three years towards making it happen."

 

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors:

 

Local Authorities taking part in scheme

 

 

 

Over 60s

Under 16s

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

 

 

ENGLAND

 

 

DARLINGTON UA

y

n

HARTLEPOOL UA

y

y

MIDDLESBROUGH UA

y

y

REDCAR & CLEVELAND UA

y

y

STOCKTON-ON-TEES UA

y

y

ALNWICK

y

n

CARLISLE

y

y

CASTLE MORPETH

y

n

CHESTER-LE-STREET

y

y

COPELAND

y

y

DERWENTSIDE

y

y

DURHAM

y

y

EASINGTON

y

y

EDEN

y

n

GATESHEAD

y

y

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

y

y

NORTH TYNESIDE

y

y

SEDGEFIELD

y

y

SOUTH TYNESIDE

y

y

SUNDERLAND

y

y