Adam Whitehead Launches Make a Splash in Merton

Tuesday 14 February 2012 at 15:04

Merton school children are being taught to swim in a mobile swimming pool, which has been built at Harris Academy Merton as part of the Mayor of London’s Make a Splash programme.


The facility today was officially opened today by Olympian and Commonwealth swimming Gold medallist Adam Whitehead.


As well as being funded by the Mayor of London, Variety Club The Children's Charity and MWB Business Exchange, local funding support has been provided by PRO-ACTIVE South London in partnership with NHS South West London and the London Borough of Merton. 


Adam said: “Swimming is an important life skill that all children should learn while having lots of fun in the process. The Make a Splash programme is making this possible for the youngsters here in Merton.”


“I also want to encourage as many people as possible from the local community to take advantage of this excellent temporary pool while it’s here.”


Make a Splash, which is part of the Mayor of London’s Sporting Legacy Programme, is designed to ensure a lasting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Total Swimming, which manages and delivers the programme, will be taking the Make a Splash mobile pool to eight more locations across London by 2013. 


The programme at Harris Academy is aiming to teach around 1,000 local children to swim, and will deliver hundreds of lessons over the three month period. 


It is hoped that this will help local children achieve the National Curriculum target of learning to swim 25m unaided by the time they leave primary school. 


One in five children in the England leave primary school without being able to swim, and this statistic can rise to four in five in communities with limited access to a pool.


Out of school hours, the pool is open to the wider community, with a programme of lessons and activities aimed at getting more people in the local area active and enjoying swimming. Sessions cost just £2 each and the programme of activities is available on the Make a Splash London website. 


Christine Double, Director at PRO-ACTIVE South London has said: “Swimming is the biggest participation sport in this Country and it is fantastic that we can take a pool to not just the children at Harris Academy Merton but also the wider community. Many adults can not swim and we will be offering Adult Swimming lessons at a very low cost”



Nicola Ryan, Director of Sport at Harris Academy Merton said: “We have had a lot of interest from our children about swimming since the construction of the mobile pool. We hope to get hundreds of the pupils using it and improving their swimming skills.”


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "With the Olympic and Paralympic Games now almost upon us we want to see Londoners of all ages, backgrounds and abilities take advantage of the fantastic Make a Splash programme. This scheme is part of our ongoing effort to ensure a lasting sporting legacy from the Games by bringing top class facilities to communities across London. Now that a new mobile pool has come to Merton, I urge people to check it out, take the plunge and get active for 2012."


Further information about the Make a Splash programme, including timetables and booking details for the project at Harris Academy Merton, can be found here.

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