On average, 102 people drown in NSW every year. Knowing how to survive in the water is an important life skill, yet for many, being able to afford swimming lessons is a luxury.
As part of a partnership between Newleaf Communities (managed by SGCH) and Royal Life Saving, 60 pupils in years 2 to 6 completed a free, two-week swimming school where they learnt water survival skills.
“At the start of the program, the instructors assessed all the students and found that 80 per cent could not swim more than four metres. By the end of the two weeks, 60 per cent could swim up to 10 metres, 32 per cent could swim up to 25 metres and 20 per cent could swim more than 50 metres,” said Bonnyrigg Public School principal Voula Hatzidimitriou.
“The teachers also noticed a definite change with the children becoming more confident over the two weeks and no longer scared or hesitant to get into the water”.
Funded by Cabra-Vale Diggers, the water safety program also includes workshops for pupils held on Friday designed to help them understand their environment and the dangers, what to do in an emergency and safe and unsafe behaviour around waterways.
SGCH Group chief executive Scott Langford said they will also offer adult swimming lessons in the future so that parents can also gain confidence in the water.
“We also consulted with the Bonnyrigg community and many residents told us they are fearful of the water and want to have swimming lessons for themselves and their children but find them expensive,” he said.