Swim Safe sessions lined up for east coast

04 August 2016 Sandhaven beach, South Shields.The RNLI and ASA's Swim Safe programme encourages children to learn about the flags at the beach, where its safe to swim, self-rescue techniques and they dangers that might be encountered while in or around the water. Fun and engaging sessions allow children to actively practice what they could do if they found themselves in trouble while swimming in open water.  Please credit: Adrian Don/RNLI
04 August 2016 Sandhaven beach, South Shields.The RNLI and ASA's Swim Safe programme encourages children to learn about the flags at the beach, where its safe to swim, self-rescue techniques and they dangers that might be encountered while in or around the water. Fun and engaging sessions allow children to actively practice what they could do if they found themselves in trouble while swimming in open water. Please credit: Adrian Don/RNLI

Swim Safe, a national programme offering free outdoor swimming and water safety sessions is coming to Scarborough this summer.

The lessons (aimed at seven to 14- year-olds) will take place on August 14 but owing to the scheme’s popularity after last year, these lessons are already fully booked.

The funds to run the programme, which is completely free to attend, were raised as part of the Andrew McGeown Legacy Fund.

Andrew was a well-loved local man who died after going into the water to rescue his dog, despite efforts by Scarborough RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew to rescue him.

Swim Safe teaches children aged seven to 14 how to stay safe when swimming outdoors, which is often more challenging than swimming in a pool.

The programme was created jointly by Swim England, the national governing body for swimming in England, and the RNLI.

The hour-long Swim Safe sessions are run by qualified swimming teachers and qualified lifeguards, supported by a team of trained volunteers.

The first 20 minutes covers land-based safety and then it is into the water for practical tuition with a swimming teacher.

Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with a t-shirt are all provided. Children must be able to swim at least 25 metres to take part.

You could book a free Swim Session in Bridlington, which will take place at the town’s South Bay from August 21 to 25.

Visit swimsafe.org.uk then share your experience using #SwimSafe and at Facebook.com/SwimSafeOutdoors

Helen Peterson, Swim Safe Co-ordinator, for Scarborough and Bridlington, said: ‘Children love swimming outdoors – but swimming in the sea, rivers and lakes is more challenging than swimming in a pool where most lessons take place.

“Swim Safe helps children learn to keep safe when swimming outdoors, so they know what do if they get into trouble.

“And because Swim Safe sessions are free and fun, they are a great activity for children who live or are holidaying on the Yorkshire Coast.’

Donna Loveland, Andrew McGeown’s sister, added: “Following a fantastic week in Scarborough in 2016 when nearly 500 children took part in the Swim Safe programme that the Andrew McGeown Legacy Fund funded it is great to be able to fund the programme in two locations this year.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to all our fundraisers, donators and supporters that have helped to make this happen and create such a positive legacy in Andrew’s name.”

Swim Safe started in 2013 with just one site in Bude, Cornwall. The programme continues to grow and in 2017, Swim Safe sessions will take place at 20 sites across the UK including beaches, lakes, reservoirs and other inland locations.