In a regional first, Timaru children will have the chance to learn to swim to survive by receiving subsidised lessons at the Caroline Bay Trust Aoraki Centre. Thanks to a joint initiative, up to 1392 children in the area will receive ten 30 minute swimming lessons. The quality lessons will be delivered by fully trained swim instructors and be offered to Years 3-6 at 12 eligible schools in the District from March to the end of 2013.
This is the first initiative of its kind in South Canterbury, and is made possible through funding received from the Kiwi Sport Regional Partnership Fund, Water Safety NZ and Sealord and Trust Aoraki, as well as support from the Timaru District Council and Sport Canterbury.
The lessons will be part of the national Sealord Swim for Life programme aimed at ensuring all kiwi kids learn to swim 200m and have essential skills to stay safe in the water. According to Jane Sullivan, CBay Programmes Team Leader, this is the largest swimming initiative the region has seen. “We are serious about making sure Timaru’s kids are safe – swimming and water sports are part of our kiwi way of life, however, we know many children are missing out on the opportunity to learn these vital skills. The child instructor ratio maximum will be 10 to one ensuring effective teaching and skill development”, said Jane.
Drowning statistics in the past year show that there were 6 drowning deaths in the Canterbury Region which was 6% of the national total. The positive news is that the number of drownings in Canterbury was down from 13 in 2011. “We can make a huge difference by equipping children with swim to survive skills,” said Jane.
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