A year wait to learn to swim

HUNDREDS of young swimmers are being forced to wait up to a year for lessons at council owned leisure centres across North Somerset. Frustrated parents are being told there is a waiting list of between six to 12 months for beginners swimming lessons at bo

HUNDREDS of young swimmers are being forced to wait up to a year for lessons at council owned leisure centres across North Somerset.Frustrated parents are being told there is a waiting list of between six to 12 months for beginners swimming lessons at both the Parish Wharf Pool in Portishead and Strode Road Leisure Centre in Clevedon.Fed up parent Claire Taylor said: "My five-year-old daughter Elyssa was getting on really well with her pre-school swimming lessons at the Strode Road pool. "I was assured that she would just get moved up to another class when she started school, however that hasn't happened and it appears we are on the waiting list. "No-one can tell me when her lessons will resume and despite telephoning and leaving messages at the centre, through the proper channels and being told someone would get back to me, the swimming co-ordinator has not even bothered to return my calls." Some children have managed to avoid waiting so long by joining the 'Dolphin' swimming lessons run by Steve Clements outside school hours at the Crockerne School pool in Pill. The pool at Crockerne School however is about to close for the winter as, due to the nature of the building, it is difficult to keep the pool premises heated during the cold winter months. Sue Turner, a mum from Portishead, said "My 10-year-old son has been on the waiting list for lessons at Parish Wharf for more than a year. "Whilst we have been waiting Harry has enjoyed swimming lessons at Crockerne School pool but now, just as his swimming is improving, the pool has to close for the winter. "It's disappointing that the finance cannot be found to insulate or heat the pool building in Pill so that it can remain open all year, when children just can't get lessons at the bigger, public pools in the area." A member of staff at one of the leisure centres, who did not want to be named, suggested the crisis was due to a shortage of swimming teachers and said she was keen to initiate courses to train instructors in an attempt to solve the problem. However North Somerset Council denies there is a problem. North Somerset Council spokesman Nick Yates said: "There are approximately 100 children on the waiting list for swimming lessons at each of the pools."We don't believe the list is unduly long and do not envisage the need to introduce any new lessons at either of the leisure centres in the near future.


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