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]­ Phil Bourke — prin­ci­[email protected] or Jo Ward — jand­[email protected]­

Swim­mers wait­ing to start at the spon­sored swim-a-thon at AW Par­sons pool

Team sec­tion win­ners Kin­tail Honey.

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