World Champion Mark Foster Launches Pools 4 Schools in Hull

Hull children, from one of the most deprived areas in the country, are being taught to swim for free, in an innovative portable pool at North Bransholme Community Centre, which is part of the British Gas Pools 4 Schools programme.

Built by Total Swimming, the facility is also open to the wider community in the evenings and at weekends, and is getting the official seal of approval today from six-time world champion Mark Foster.  The swimming star will hold a special masterclass for a number of lucky youngsters, who are currently learning to swim at the pool.

North Bransholme, one of the largest council estates in Europe, is in the top 5% of the most deprived areas in England. The temporary pool is providing a huge boost to recreational services in an area which is very much cut off from the rest of the city. It is offering a range of activities including; swimming lessons, aqua fit, family disability swimming, community group sessions, parent and baby classes and casual swimming.

Foster said: “Swimming is an important life skill that everyone should learn while having fun in the water, and British Gas Pools 4 Schools is making this possible for the children and the wider community here in North Bransholme.

“Hundreds of people have already used the pool, and I want to encourage everyone in the area to make the most of this fantastic facility while it’s here.”

British Gas Pools 4 Schools, in coordination with The Amateur Swimming Association ASA and Speedo, takes a special teaching pool around the country and provides free swimming lessons for children in areas where there is limited access to a swimming pool. In this case it is providing a facility to get the whole community swimming.

North Bransholme Community Centre manager, Janet McCoid said: “We are extremely pleased to be the host of such an amazing programme.  

“This pool has allowed our relationships within the local community to grow, and it is great to see so many families coming together to swim, and enjoy this fantastic facility.”

One in three children in the UK leaves school without being able to swim, which means that 200,000 kids left primary school this summer without mastering this life-saving skill.

For adults, research has shown that just one 30 minute swimming session per a week can significantly improve health and fitness.

The 12m by 6m pool, which was built by Total Swimming, has been open since 10th November. It will remain on site until 8th February 2013, closing for two weeks over Christmas. Swimming teachers have been organised by Hull City Council’s sports development team. Speedo has supplied swimming caps and bags for all schoolchildren taking part in sessions at the pool.

Councillor Helene O’Mullane, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services for Hull City Council, said:  "We are delighted with the innovative project from Total Swimming. It has provided a temporary swimming pool in north Hull which is helping to improve national curriculum swimming standards and is inspiring local residents to take a dip and get active. 

“The installation and running of the pool has been a huge partnership effort between Hull City Council, North Bransholme Community Centre, Amateur Swimming Association and Total Swimming. We are also offering incentives for people using the temporary pool to keep swimming at our Ennerdale Leisure Centre."

British Gas Brand Director, Susie Plume said: “British Gas has been the principal partner of British Swimming since 2009 and is encouraging everyone in Britain to discover the benefits of swimming.

“We are tremendously proud that British Gas Pools 4 Schools has already helped more than 20,000 children to learn this vital skill, and we hope both youngsters and the wider community will enjoy swimming at the North Bransholme Community Centre pool over the next few months.”

For further information about British Gas Pools 4 Schools, click here.