New plan to keep peo­ple in the swim

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By NEAL KEELING @Neal­keel­ingMEN

THREE swim­ming ‘mis­sion­ar­ies’ to get un­fit and over­weight peo­ple back into the pool have been ap­pointed.

Sal­ford coun­cil has em­ployed the trio, each on a 12-month salary, to take the mes­sage about the ben­e­fits of swim­ming to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and schools.

The new posts will be fi­nanced us­ing part of a £211,000 Lot­tery grant – and aims to save lives.

Gov­ern­ment fig­ures show al­most a third of adults in the town are obese and al­most a quar­ter of chil­dren leav­ing pri­mary schools – well above the na­tional av­er­age.

The mo­ti­va­tors are part of a new cam­paign, called ‘Swim Your Way,’ high­light­ing the va­ri­ety of swim­ming ses­sions avail­able across Sal­ford.

Garry Bate­man, head of sport and leisure at Sal­ford Com­mu­nity Leisure, said: “We un­der­stand there are cer­tain bar­ri­ers to swim­ming, from fi­nan­cial is­sues through to body con­fi­dence and cul­tural con­sid­er­a­tions, and th­ese are just some of the rea­sons why more peo­ple do not swim.

“We want to find out ex­actly how we can help and in­spire peo­ple to swim more reg­u­larly.” The money has been awarded to Sal­ford Com­mu­nity Leisure, which runs swim­ming pools and sports cen­tres in the city, by Sport Eng­land. The coun­cil recog­nised the im­por­tance of swim­ming when it chose not to shut Broughton Pool in 2014 but in­stead spent £120,000 on ur­gent re­pairs. In Fe­bru­ary, the M.E.N. re­vealed the city’s sports cen­tres are to be re­fur­bished at a cost of £35m. The im­prove­ment pro­gramme will take ten years to com­plete. It is hoped the in­vest­ment will play a key role in im­prov­ing the health of the city’s un­fit. A coun­cil re­port says that in 2014 there were 1,591 pre­ma­ture deaths in Sal­ford, and of th­ese ‘there is po­ten­tial that 264 were di­rectly linked to phys­i­cal in­ac­tiv­ity.’ It says that phys­i­cally driven chil­dren are more likely to do bet­ter aca­dem­i­cally and sport plays an im­por­tant role in re­duc­ing crime and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in the town. Re­search shows rea­sons peo­ple did not swim in­cluded lack of aware­ness of lo­cal fa­cil­i­ties, per­ceived lack of time to go swim­ming and body con­fi­dence is­sues. Garry Bate­man

Broughton Pool will be work­ing to lure swim­mers back

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