Why the changes?

The independent review stated that the Free Swimming Initiative was no longer fit for purpose.

While it has helped get thousands across Wales swimming since it began in 2003, the review concluded that it was not cost-effective. It also spelt out that it did not make the biggest contribution to increasing levels of activity. 

The number of young people benefiting from the scheme was in significant decline since 2013-14. For the 60 plus age group, the review estimated that only 6% of the target population were accessing the programme. 

It is against this very challenging backdrop that policy changes were decided by the Welsh Government.

Updates to swim facilities

The new initiative will be delivered against a reduced budget of £1.5m per annum from April 2020 and is expected to be spent on ensuring the offer is right for each of the target groups. 

However, during 2019-20 Local Authorities will also have access to a share of £1m in capital investment allowing them to update swim facilities where needed. This is to be used before the end of the financial year to improve the customer experience in some pools.

Further information

To find out more, please contact your local public pool for more information and updated timetables.