Published: 00:01, 01 April 2014
All under-16s in Medway can go swimming for free from today.
The council outlined the offer in its budget last month and it applies to Medway Park, Gillingham, Strood Sports Centre, Hundred of Hoo Sports Centre, Splashes Leisure Pool, Rainham, and The Strand outdoor pool in Gillingham.
It is an extension of the council’s popular free swimming scheme for under-11s and over-60s.
A council spokesman said: “That scheme has been so successful that in its first two years Medway pools saw a 28% increase in the number of swimmers and as of January 1 this year, a staggering 279,559 free swims had been enjoyed.”
There are 54,200 under-16s in the area and it is hoped the initiative will encourage youngsters to take more exercise without making a dent in their – or their parents’ – pockets.
The council has set aside £60,000 in the budget for the new scheme.
Cllr Howard Doe, in charge of community services, said: “Encouraging children to be active is extremely important and if we can do that without any cost involved to them then it will make all the difference.”
The free offer follows the success of The Big Splash, Medway’s first mass community swimming event, which took place in January and attracted around 2,000 people.
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