A lifesaving safety campaign is poised to reach the largest number of areas in Scotland to offer lifesaving swim lessons this summer in a determined bid to teach water awareness skills across the country.
Around 70,000 children will be offered water safety lessons during this year’s Drowning Prevention Week organised by the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) between July 18 and 25 as part of the acclaimed Learn to Swim programme – a partnership between Scottish Water and Scottish Swimming’s spanning across almost 40 areas in Scotland.
Locations stretch from one end of the country to the other as Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, Aberdeen and Moray, down to Tayside, Perthshire, Lanarkshire, Borders, Edinburgh, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and beyond are involved.
Coming after day-to-day lessons were interrupted for almost two years due to the pandemic, it reflects an urgent ongoing commitment to help children to become confident and competent swimmers while improving water safety for a new generation of swimmers.
Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs with Scottish Water, said: “Given the disruption suffered to the provision of traditional lessons during the pandemic, it really is such a vital opportunity to develop generations of confident, safer, competent children and ensure they do not miss out on such an important life skill.
“With the lifting of lockdown and other challenges facing households, it is likely many people will choose to staycation here in Scotland again this year, complete with the attraction of swimming at beauty spots and popular locations.
“By improving water safety and working with coaches across the country, our partnership with Scottish Swimming really can make a life changing difference for so many.”
The RLSS’s Drowning Prevention Week itself is one of the UK and Ireland’s largest summer water safety campaigns aimed to equip people with skills and knowledge to make the right decisions about water safety, particularly during the summer months.
Euan Lowe, Scottish Swimming Chief Executive Officer, said: “Ensuring children can learn to swim will provide essential life skills to keep them safe in around water following a period when they may have risked missing out on the learning and fun that goes with it.
“As part of the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s Drowning Prevention week, coaches will be delivering lessons specially adapted to include key water safety guidance including the Water Safety Code and basic skills such as floating which are needed to survive in cold water.
“Coming ahead of the summer holidays, our team are very much looking forward to engaging with our communities and building on every level of experience to ensure safe swimming for generations to come.”
Research into the cognitive benefits for young people who take swimming lessons has shown they achieve a range of developmental milestones earlier than those who don’t, regardless of their gender or background.
Children who are members of a swimming club and who compete regularly, develop core competencies – such as target-setting, teamwork, resilience, time management and leadership attributes – which can help them greatly in their future careers and lives (Cumming and New 2017; Hamilton and Rhodes 2016).
Learn to Swim is championed by Scotland’s swimming superstars, World Champions and Olympic and Paralympic medallists Duncan Scott and Toni Shaw as its Ambassadors.