15 June 2020
Free Swimming Lessons For Children Cancelled
The Gore District’s popular free swimming lessons for primary school children have become a casualty of COVID-19.
Gore Aquatics Services Manager Martin Mackereth said the lessons will not be provided in the 2020 / 21 financial year due to a lack of funding. He was hopeful the lessons may be reinstated in the following year.
The G ‘n’ D Learn to Swim programme has been running for nine years. It provides all children in the Gore District, aged between five and 12 years, with 10 free swimming lessons a year.
Mr Mackereth said cancelling next year’s lessons was a heart-breaking decision to make.
While the lessons were about increasing children’s awareness and ability to be safe in and around water, they provided much more.
“You could see children’s confidence grow. The lessons also opened up opportunities to take part in water sports.”
The programme was funded by the Gore District Council, Mataura Licensing Trust and Gore Pakeke Lions Club. It costs about $70,000 a year.
Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said the decision was disappointing although understandable given the impact of COVID-19 on every corner of the community.
It was hoped the programme will return sometime in the future, he said.