Free swimming initiative makes a splash

A Government-backed free swimming initiative for under-17s and over-60s has been making a splash at River Park Leisure Centre. More than 5.000 people in Winchester have signed up for the scheme since it was launched last April.

The aim of the scheme is to give people in certain age groups the chance to adopt a healthier lifestyle. River Park has already seen a 6% increase in the number of people swimming and Winchester City Council, which owns the centre, is pleased that the scheme has been a big success.

Cllr Patricia Stallard, Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and Sport, said: “With the London Olympic and Paralympic Games not so far away, we are doing all we can to encourage people to take regular exercise and enjoy the benefits for their health and wellbeing. We are grateful to our partners DC Leisure – who operate River Park on our behalf – for underwriting the scheme locally, and for administering it so successfully.”

With national funding already guaranteed for another year, there is plenty of time for more people to register for a free pass.

Sarah Morgan, General Manager at River Park Leisure Centre, added: “The Government aims to get two million people more active by 2012 to combat the growing obesity problem and the related health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Swimming is the nation’s most popular recreational activity after walking, and a free swimming card can remove any worries about cost.”

You don’t have to live in the Winchester District to qualify for a pass, but you have to be 17-and-under or 60-and-over. For more information about how to register, call River Park Leisure Centre on 01962 848 700.