- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
- Category: Uncategorized
MIKE HEDGES AM QUESTIONS WELSH MINISTER ABOUT CHANGES TO FREE SWIMMING POLICY
Speaking form the Senedd, Swansea East AM Mike Hedges said…. I have been contacted by numerous people recently following changes to the rules for free swimming for those over 65. It seems as if the amount of time available for free swimming for over 65s has been reduced at many local swimming facilities. I am pleased that the Minster was able to clarify that the provision is now the responsibility of the local authorities and the provision is being monitored. Although only a small number of people availed themselves of the free swimming time, to these people it provided recreation, exercise and an opportunity to socialise with others. It would be a shame if this facility were to be withdrawn all together.
If anyone has experiences they wish to feedback on changes to the scheme, please contact my office and I will ensure that resident’s views are passed on to Ministers.
Mike Hedges AM – The second statement I’m requesting is on free swimming for those over 65. A large number of my older constituents in the least advantaged parts of Swansea East are now losing out on free swimming. If our aim is towards preventative rather than reactive health action, then free swimming for our elderly living in the poorest of communities is surely very important to keep people active and keep them out of hospitals.
Rebecca Evans AM – In terms of the free swimming initiative, Mike Hedges will be aware that it was only 6 per cent of the over-60s who were taking up the opportunity for the free swimming initiative, and the independent report suggested that the scheme did need to be amended, to ensure that young people, particularly from poorer backgrounds, were able to take up the opportunity for free swimming.109
So, the situation now is that, based on the understanding of the needs of their own communities, local authorities are being asked to focus on supporting young people, and older citizens from more disadvantaged areas, and provide new plans to meet those objectives. And those plans, I can say, are currently being introduced, and we are in a transition period, where users are being encouraged to feed back their views and experiences to the provider via their local swimming pools. Again, I’d be really pleased if Mike Hedges and other Members are able to feed back some of their feedback to Welsh Government in terms of what their constituents are telling them, because that feedback will be used to help local authorities and delivery agents provide a more tailored service in the future. Support will be provided by Sport Wales and Swim Wales, who will, in turn, report back to the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism every six months, for a period of 18 months.