Jump-ing in to fund life swimming skills
The staff took part in Edinburgh Leisure’s first ever major fundraising ’10 x 10 Swim Challenge’, which involved a team of 10 staff, swimming 1km each in 10 of Edinburgh Leisure’s pools in one day on 1 September. All sponsorship raised will help to continue to fund the ‘Jump In’ project, which gives pre-school swimming lessons for nursery pupils living in areas of multiple deprivation in the city.
The team were supported by Landmarc Support who supplied transport and refreshments for the team. Landmarc’s Regional Operations Manager for Scotland, Kevin Kneeshaw said: “Jump In is a great initiative so we’re really pleased we could be involved by transporting the swimmers between each of the ten locations. We hope this challenge has helped to raise awareness of this vital project to support essential swimming lessons for disadvantaged children.”
Andrew Stephenson, Funding Officer at Edinburgh Leisure explained: “Since the ‘Jump In’ project started in 2012, it has taught 1,500 nursery school children affected by poverty to swim, embedding crucial life skills that keeps children safe around water by improving their water confidence and swimming ability.
“All the team taking part have got involved because they believe every child should have the chance to swim, but sadly not everyone gets that opportunity. As a charity, Edinburgh Leisure relies on funding from trusts, companies and individuals to keep this project going.”
This is the first ever major fundraising challenge that Edinburgh Leisure has initiated. Projects like Jump In are part of Edinburgh Leisure’s Active Communities programme that give a helping hand to those that need a little extra support to get active and protect their health and wellbeing.
Swimming can have a really positive effect on an individual’s mental wellbeing, with additional wider social benefits including better educational attainment and improved confidence.
Yet despite these great benefits, 40% of Scotland’s children leave primary school unable to swim. This number increases significantly in areas of deprivation, which is poignant when more than one child in every five living in Edinburgh is affected by poverty.
This social injustice means that these children are often excluded from learning to swim, placing them at a higher risk of drowning and losing out on the chance to develop their physical abilities and communication skills that their peers can learn during swimming lessons.
The decline in children’s swimming ability is linked to an eight percent decline in the number of people swimming recreationally (Sports England), especially families. As well as the negative impact on a child’s ability to swim and their water confidence, children who never get the opportunity to learn to swim are less likely to be physically active throughout their life, increasing their likelihood of major illnesses by up to 50% and early death by up to 30%.
If you have had a great experience of swimming and believe that all children should get the opportunity to learn to swim and would like to sponsor the team, donations can be made by texting EDLS65 £3 to 70070.