Time to get kids swimming again and build a vital life skill, says social enterprise GLL

Social enterprise GLL has welcomed the resumption of swimming lessons and indoor group training as another layer of lockdown eases in Northern Ireland.

Monday, 24th May 2021, 2:00 pm
Belfast Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey and Head of Service at GLL Jacqui Pope celebrate the launch of GLL’s Swim School

GLL estimates that up to 158,000 opportunities to learn to swim were missed at the city’s Swim School last year due to lockdown

The organisation says that getting people back to swimming lessons and other physical activities will be a huge challenge but an important one that will help address growing rates of obesity and poor physical and mental health.

The largest social enterprise operating leisure facilities in the UK, GLL says a further challenge now lies in equipping children, young people and adults with a crucial life skill, particularly as we head into the summer months and families flock to coastal areas.

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GLL will reopen its popular Swim School at six of its 15 leisure centres in the city today, in line with Executive guidance

The social enterprise will also resume indoor fitness classes and tennis lessons, reopen 3G pitches for wider use and launch a range of new aqua facilities at Andersonstown Leisure Centre.

The Belfast leisure operator was joined by Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman Frank McCoubrey as it prepares to step up indoor leisure provisions across the city.

Belfast Lord Mayor, Alderman Frank McCoubrey, said: “Today’s resumption of indoor group exercise is a significant step forward in our reopening, and one we know many individuals have been waiting for. The pandemic has been a challenging time for all of our citizens, not least for children and young people who have greatly missed the extra-curricular activities that fill their week. It is great to see services resuming across the city and the return of fitness classes and swimming lessons which are so vital for people’s health and wellbeing and their enjoyment of the first-class facilities our city has to offer.”

Head of Service at GLL Jacqui Pope, added: “While we are thrilled to see our service offering widened today, we are anxious to resume swimming lessons and begin tackling the huge backlog that awaits. Swimming is an essential life skill with the potential to save lives. We know that around 400 people a year lose their life to drowning so lessons encourage individuals to be comfortable and confident in the water and it is brilliant to see them back again as we head towards the summer months.

“We also know that physical exercise is a lot more than solo training in the gym, it is a chance to interact with others and blow off steam in an uplifting and motivating environment. The return of group sessions indoors is key to this and a welcome step forward as we leave lockdown behind and strive to rebuild and revitalise public health.”

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