Helping CHB’s kids swim for life
Watching his children’s swimming sports in 2016 and seeing how many children were struggling, Wayne Forest had a vision.
Wayne’s wish was to reduce drownings by giving children the opportunity to learn to swim — so CHB Swim-4-Lives was formed. A small committee included Wayne Nicki Heremia (Sport Hawke’s Bay), Michele Hayes (Aqua Management), Phil Bourke (Principal Flemington school), Charles Nairn (Unichem Pharmacy) and Jo Ward.
Previous funding from Swim New Zealand which had enabled schools to access cheaper swimming lesson options had been stopped.
Many rural schools, already limited in funds, would struggle to provide transport to bring groups of children in for lessons, and many families were not able to prioritise swimming lessons.
“We knew that many rural schools had swimming pools and that teachers tried their best to teach children swimming skills in school time but the real need was for deep water safety as the school pools were shallow and did not prepare the children for deep water,” says Nicki.
“Children really need two sessions of deep water safety for the teaching to be really effective.”
The committee organised a “Swim-a-thon” — a sponsored swim at AW Parsons pool — to raise money for the cause.
“We have now run three successful Swim-a-thons making just over $16,000. These funds have allowed CHBS4L to offer all CHB Primary schools help with targeted swimming lessons, deep water sessions and the transport to access the AW Parsons Pool,” Nicki says.
“The Swim-a-thons have had individual and team swimmers taking part. There have also been workplaces challenging each other to see how many lengths their team could swim in 10 minutes. There are awards handed out based around the most sponsorship money made, most individual lengths done etc.
“The committee feels really inspired to keep our vision alive and we have formed a trust so that we can apply for grants and become a more formal group.”
The next Swim-a-thon will be held on Sunday 31 March.
“We would love to make the event bigger and better.
“We can help our children in many ways if we can make more funds. We would love your schools, wha¯ nau or business to come and support us and we would also value any feedback you may have on our future plans, especially from the schools, as the children are our focus.”
CHBS4L acknowledges sponsorship support the participants get and the donations of spot prizes and funds it has had from many businesses and individuals in CHB.
■ For information or to take part, contact Michele Hayes — [email protected] Nicki Heremia — [email protected] Wayne Forrest — for[email protected]hoo.co.nz Phil Bourke — princi[email protected] or Jo Ward — jand[email protected]hoo.com
Swimmers waiting to start at the sponsored swim-a-thon at AW Parsons pool
Team section winners Kintail Honey.