Swimming lessons a splash hit!
thousand Liverpool schoolchildren are in the swim thanks to a
splashing city council project.
At the beginning of the month, Olympic swimming bronze medallist
Stephen Parry teamed up with the council to launch a pioneering
drive to teach schoolchildren to swim in just 2 weeks. And it's
really paid off. Through the project, the biggest of its kind
in the UK, 780 Liverpool kids who either couldn't swim or weren't
very proficient can now swim 25 metres. And the rest have made
The council has been inundated with letters from delighted children,
with comments including:- "I have more confidence and feel a
lot safer in the water now"; "Thank you for organising swimming
lessons. I really liked swimming in the deep end" and "I can now
swim there and back without stopping"!
Liverpool City Council Leader Warren Bradley said:- "The
success of this project is a massive boost to our aim to get
thousands more young people in Liverpool swimming and improve their
health and fitness. Teaching so many children to swim in just
a couple of weeks was always going to be a tall order. We were
always hopeful we could do it and to have achieved so much in such a
short space of time is just fantastic."
Councillor Bradley acknowledged that a lot of work remains to be
done, as around half of Liverpool schoolchildren still can't swim,
against a national average of 17%. But work is being done to put
that right. He added:- "We've just introduced free
leisure passes so Liverpool children can get access to any of our
Lifestyles centres, not just to go swimming but to do a huge range
of sports. So any child who wants to continue developing their
swimming skills through the summer can go to the pool every day if
The 'Top Up' swimming lessons programme, initiated by
Liverpool's School Sports Partnership, is funded by Liverpool's
Lifestyles leisure centres and the government. It is a partnership
between the city council and Stephen Parry's company Total Swimming,
which provided the tuition.
It took place at 5 pools across the city, with the ultimate aim of
improving the number of Liverpool youngsters who can swim before
they start secondary school. Schools across the city were
invited to sign up to the scheme, putting forward pupils in Year 6
(final year of primary school) who could not swim 25 metres. Over
the course of the fortnight, youngsters received a 30-minute session
each day with 1 coach for every 8 pupils.
School Effectiveness officer, Stephen Tiffany, said:- "This
intensive program has demonstrated a really effective way to teach
swimming, and it will revolutionise how we deliver swimming in our
primary schools. The work of our four School Sports
Partnership groups on this city wide project has been top-class, and
we hope to repeat the programme in 2007."
Stephen Parry, who took bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said:-
"We've been delighted with the massive progress made by every
child. It's been fantastic to see the kids having fun, getting fit
and learning a vitally important life skill. And remember these are
children that didn't even like the water and haven't had the
opportunity to swim before.
Liverpool has really been put on the national swimming map through
this ambitious project. So many people have worked together through
our pro-active Partnership Development Managers to deliver the most
successful and largest Learn to Swim program in the country.
Liverpool council really is showing a strong commitment to sport
through this program and many others, ensuring that the Lifestyles
program will be a resounding success.
And the huge impact the swimming project has already made means we
can hopefully look to replicate it all over the country. That means
Liverpool could soon be leading the way where once we were lagging
YOUR BUS DRIVER GOT THE ‘X FACTOR’?
Bowes, commercial manager of Arriva North West and Wales, wants your
nominations for local bus drivers. If you believe your bus
driver has that little bit extra when it comes to offering great
service then bus company Arriva North West and Wales is looking for
your vote. August sees Arriva launch a new competition for its
drivers in Southport – Bus Driver X Factor – which aims to find the
best driver as nominated and voted for by Arriva customers.
Derek Bowes commercial manager of Arriva North West and Wales said:-
“Our drivers are the frontline when it comes to meeting the
public and we know that many of them are always prepared to go the
extra mile when it comes to customer service. We want
customers to tell us which drivers they feel should be included in
the Arriva Bus Driver X Factor competition. Whether it’s because
their driver is always smiling and friendly or because he or she is
always prepared to help people getting on and off the bus, let us
know which driver you think has the X Factor.”
Every suggestion counts, as the drivers from Southport who receive
the most nominations will automatically be entered into the North
West and Wales final. This will see the drivers go head to head as
the competition is put to the public vote to decide the winner.
The winner in the North West and Wales will be crowned as the Bus
Driver X Factor winner and will win a trophy and cash prize.
If you would like to vote for an Arriva bus driver call the Bus
Driver X Factor hotline on 0845 270 1660 or email your nomination to
firstname.lastname@example.org by August 31.
YOUNG TALENT GETS
YOUNG musical talent is getting
the chance to record in a top studio as part of the Streetwaves
One act from each of the seven neighbourhoods of Liverpool is set to
perform at the Mathew Street Music Festival on August Bank holiday
in front of thousands. Part of their prize package also includes a
day at Elevator Studios with expert producers, where the likes of
The Zutons, The Coral, The Subways, The Automatic, The Lightning
Seeds and The Kooks have worked. There will be a separate gig at the
Picket with many of the auditioning bands as an alternative Mathew
Last year's winners have gone on to perform again after the prize
spot at the festival and have got further work using their musical
talent. 1 band, Fade 2, has appeared on national television and has
signed a management deal after taking part. Application forms have
already been gathered and acts chosen to audition and now there are
only 2 more audition sessions to go, details below, photographers
Liverpool City Council leader, Cllr Warren Bradley, said:- "So
far the heats have had an electric atmosphere, with friends and
family willing each act on. The gig feel has proved very popular so
it's worth getting down to the last 3 auditions. We're encouraging
everyone to come along and support the young people, it also gives
the other bands a chance to check out their competition!"
Winners will also get a designer from p-ornithology T-shirt company
to work on band merchandise, with a certain number of shirts to give
away to their most loyal fans. This year The Picket Music Project is
managing Streetwaves. The Picket has recently opened in its new
premises in Liverpool's Independent District. Partners include the
Liverpool Culture Company, MZONE and Youth Music, who will all give
every auditioning band advice and feedback to improve their
Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council is holding a partner
competition with one more audition to go. For more information about Streetwaves visit