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Children Swim Safe with free outdoor swimming safety sessions on Yorkshire Coast

Lifeboats News Release

Swim Safe, a national programme offering free outdoor swimming and water safety sessions is coming to Bridlington for the first time this summer. The lessons (aimed at 7-14 year-olds) will take place at the town’s South beach from 21 to 25 August.*

RNLI/Adrian Don

A Swim Safe session taking place

The programme will also be returning to Scarborough on 14 August. *Owing to the scheme’s popularity following 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 sadly 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 7–14 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 Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the charity that saves lives at sea.

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.

To book a free Swim Session in Bridlington, 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 aged 7–14 who live or are holidaying on the Yorkshire Coast.’

Donna Loveland, Andrew McGeown's sister, said: ‘ 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.’

Since Swim Safe started in 2013 (with just one site in Bude, Cornwall), over 18,000 sessions have taken place across the UK. Now in its fifth year, 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.

RNLI Picture caption

The photograph shows a Swim Safe session taking place. Credit: RNLI/Adrian Don.

Media contacts

For more information please contact Clare Hopps, RNLI Press Officer North on: 07824 518641, or at: clare_hopps@rnli.org.uk For out of hours enquiries, please contact the RNLI Duty Press Officer on 01202 336789.

Notes to Editors

· Swim Safe will be taking place at North Bay in Scarborough from 14 to 18 August and at South beach in Bridlington from 21 to 25 August (some spaces are still available for Bridlington).

About Swim Safe

· Swim Safe was created jointly by Swim England and the RNLI to help children aged 7–14 stay safe when enjoying swimming outdoors. It was launched in 2013 in Bude and is now delivered to the public and schools at over 20 locations across the UK.

This year Swim Safe is being delivered in partnership with Scottish Swimming and Swim Wales. It is also being supported nationally by the Swimming Trust, and the Swim Safe schools programme is being supported by Norton by Symantec.

About Swim England

· Formally known as the Amateur Swimming Association, Swim England is the national governing body for swimming in England. It helps people learn how to swim, enjoy the water safely, and compete in all aquatic sports.

Swim England’s vision is of a nation swimming and it strives to inspire everyone to enjoy the water in the way that suits them. Each month millions of people are able to enjoy swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming, having been through the Swim England Learn to Swim Programme.

Swim England also supports its members, clubs and athletes, and runs qualification and education programmes to develop the workforce. For more information visit swimming.org/swimengland

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.