Mayor announces mobile swimming pool scheme to visit 3 more boroughs

06 March 2014

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson made waves earlier today (Thursday, March 6) when he announced that his flagship mobile swimming pool scheme is to visit another three boroughs before the end of the year.

The Mayor revealed the news as he visited a mobile pool that has been located in a specially constructed heated marquee next to Wanstead Leisure Centre and Wanstead High School as part of his ‘Make a Splash’ initiative.

Over the last three years, ‘Make a Splash’ has brought temporary pools to 24 venues across London where there are currently barriers to participating in the sport. It has helped more than 21,500 Londoners of all ages learn to swim with 70 per cent continuing to use another pool within six months of first taking up the sport.

With a recent report from the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) revealing that 49 per cent of 11 year olds are able to swim 25 metres unaided, local authorities from across London will now be able to step forward and bid for the pool to come to their area for a 12 week period as part of the scheme.

This morning, the Mayor met pupils from Fairlop Primary School who are amongst hundreds of people using the mobile pool. The pool offers free sessions for the wider community on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings.

The initiative, which is delivered in partnership with Total Swimming and the Amateur Swimming Association, forms a key part of the Mayor’s £22.5m Sports Legacy Programme. The fund was set up to help encourage more people to participate in sport before, during and after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. More than 300,000 Londoners have already benefited from the programme.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Swimming is a fantastic way to stay happy and healthy and is one of the best forms of exercise known to man. Unfortunately many Londoners do not have access to swimming pools so I am thrilled that Make a Splash has been able to help tens of thousands of people to take the plunge.”

The Mayor’s Commissioner for Sport, Kate Hoey also attended the event. She said “Make a Splash is an integral part of our Sports Legacy Programme and is a perfect example of what we can achieve by bringing together national governing bodies of sport, the local authority, schools and the wider community. The Mayor and I are determined to ensure that all Londoners get the best possible access to sport and physical activity and it is wonderful to see so many happy children enjoying these fantastic facilities.”

David Sparkes, Chief Executive of the Amateur Swimming Association said: “Swimming is one of the easiest, safest forms of exercise for children of all abilities, and school swimming is the single most effective way of teaching children how to be safe in and around water. 59 per cent of children in London aged 7-11 years cannot swim 25 metres, so the Make a Splash project is invaluable in helping to target this group as well as those who sadly reach both secondary school and adulthood without this life saving skill. We have also found that Splash projects can play a major role in building communities and driving activity in the community to drive the health agenda.”

Councillor Keith Prince, Leader of Redbridge Council said, “The Make a Splash initiative has been a great success for Redbridge. I would like to congratulate everyone involved and I am pleased we had the opportunity of having the training pool in our Borough. “This training pool has gone a long way to reduce the numbers on the waiting list of those who wish to learn to swim. Eight schools have used the pool with 555 children learning to swim during the school programme. During the community hours at evenings and weekends 450 swimmers have used the pool.”

In addition to the pool at Redbridge, there is also one currently in place at Daubeney Primary School in Hackney. All 540 pupils from the school are set to take part in a special ‘one length challenge’ at the London Aquatics Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.