Getting along swimmingly....
Happy Swimmers was awarded £10,000 in May 2023, from the Drone Hill Wind Farm Community Fund to support ongoing costs of the project, including free swimming lessons for primary school-aged children.
The Drone Hill Wind Farm Community Fund supports community projects benefiting those living in the areas covered by Reston & Auchencrow, Grantshouse, Coldingham, and Cockburnspath & Cove Community Councils. The fund is provided by Schroders Greencoat, the owners of the Drone Hill Wind Farm in East Berwickshire. The fund opened in 2012.
Happy Swimmers is a constituted, voluntary organisation. It received funding to contribute towards project costs associated with providing swimming lessons for children and young people within the East Berwickshire community.
Happy Swimmers was founded by a group of residents who had concerns that people living within the coastal areas were unable to swim. It was identified that local schools were not supporting the facilitation of swimming classes, and parents were finding the cost of lessons too expensive, which meant the children and young people were missing out on a lifelong skill.
The group ran a successful initial pilot session which was funded through Reston and Auchencrow Community Council. Following this, Happy Swimmers began to roll the programme out across the Berwickshire region, providing the opportunity for those facing cost barriers to participate and embrace swimming.
The project started in June 2023, and is currently in full swing. Happy Swimmers has 42 children being funded for a year of swimming lessons outside of school times, attending pool centres across Duns, Dunbar and Eyemouth.
Happy Swimmers has supported Reston Primary School and Coldingham Primary School by providing funding for each school to undertake a 6-week swimming lesson block. Reston Primary School has completed its sessions and has reported the lessons a great success and the highlight of the term for many pupils. Coldingham Primary School will be undertaking lessons in March 2024.
Happy Swimmers plan to use the data collected from this initiative to show local and national government the demand and importance of teaching children to swim.
The following feedback was provided by a parent with two girls (aged around 7 & 5 years old) who had never swum before:
Thank you so much, I can't explain the smiles and excitement on the girls faces when I told them they were off to their swimming lesson today after school. This wouldn't have been possible without you guys. It's much appreciated and also for the communication. Most folk would have left me at the 1st email.
Reston Primary School Headteacher said:
“All the children really enjoyed the lessons, and they were an extremely beneficial learning experience”.
The Project Coordinator said:
We were delighted to receive funding from Drone Hill Wind Farm Fund to help get children in our area swimming. As swimming is not part of the school curriculum in Scotland, it's left to families to teach their children the essential life skill of swimming, and in the current climate the costs can make this impossible for many. This has made swimming a luxury, reserved for those who can afford it. Happy Swimmers wants to remove the financial and resource-based barriers to children learning to swim, and the funding has been an essential starting point for this initiative. This year we will introduce around 120 primary school children to swimming lessons in school time, and have also funded swimming lessons for over 40 children who’s families would otherwise have foregone or never started them, given the costs involved.