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Local schoolchildren benefit from Gateshead Council's water safety training

     
Posted on Tuesday 12 July 2016
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Pupils of Carr Hill Primary School proudly showing off their training certificates, with Cllr McElroy of Gateshead Council

Gateshead Council is supporting ‘Water Safety Week’, by delivering dedicated water safety training to pupils from every primary school in Gateshead.

Every year around 400 people drown in the UK, and shockingly it is the third highest cause of accidental death in children; yet many of these are entirely preventable.

Lynn Littler, Gateshead Council’s Leisure Facility Manager said “Many people who drown are actually strong swimmers, and the accidents that happen are often due to misadventure. Our classes educate children on the risks involved in swimming, particularly in open water. We help them recognise and avoid potentially dangerous hazards such as strong undercurrents or riptides, rough water and high waves, and cold water shock; and how to respond to help themselves and others should they ever find themselves in difficulty. We also teach them the meaning of each flag used at the beach to indicate current conditions, and to simulate a potential real life situation, within a controlled environment we encourage them swim in their clothes"

Over 2500 primary school children attended the sessions that took place at Gateshead Council’s five main leisure centres. Amanda Thompson, PE Coordinator at Carr Hill Primary School agrees the training has a vital role to play. She said “Water safety education is so important. Our pupils need to understand it isn’t just about being able to swim. They need to be aware of the dangers that lurk beneath the surface. They need to be able to read the signs so that accidents can be prevented. The timing of these sessions is ideal with the school summer holidays just around the corner. The knowledge they’ve gained will help keep them safe either at the pool or on the beach. They can share this information with family members too”.

Cllr John McElroy, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Sport and Leisure commented “I attended one of these sessions in a viewing capacity just to see for myself all the great work our teams in our leisure facilities do in educating and developing the skills of the next generation. As a council we don’t want to discourage people from enjoying themselves in water, but by delivering training such as this we’re giving people potentially lifesaving knowledge and skills”.

Gateshead Council have a range of swimming tuition available throughout the summer, including junior and adult swimming lessons, snorkelling and rookie lifeguarding. For more information visit www.gateshead.gov.uk/swimming or call your local leisure centre.