What is the Free Swimming Initiative in Wales?
Free Swimming in Wales was first launched in 2003. It was the first national free swimming programme in Wales. The aim? To get more young people (aged 16 and under) and over 60s learning to swim and swimming more regularly.
It is a Welsh Government-funded initiative, managed by Sport Wales and delivered by the 22 Local Authorities.
An independent review in 2019 called for change in the way the programme operates.
Changes to the Free Swimming Initiative in Wales
Following the independent review and guidance from Welsh Government, Free Swimming still targets young people and older people over the age of 60 - but now prioritises those from areas of deprivation.
The aim is to help people who face the biggest barriers in accessing a pool so we can give them the chance to learn a life skill and to swim more frequently.
The changes came into place in October 2019, ensuring the Free Swimming Initiative is fit for purpose.
Each local authority and their delivery partners are now responsible for providing a minimum standard of one free splash session to young people each weekend, in every Local Authority run pool.
And during the summer holidays, each pool will be expected to deliver two free sessions during the week in addition to the weekend session.
Pools will also offer some free and possibly subsidised sessions for over 60s.
Local Authorities - and their delivery partners, such as leisure trusts - will be able to decide how to cater for this audience and create offers that make the best use of the funding locally. This will include a free swim option, but it may also include subsidised swimming and/or multi-sport offers.