Liverpool’s Indigenous Youth Dive into Success with Learn to Swim Program
It’s a skill that many of us take for granted, however, a group of local Indigenous youths have never had the opportunity to gain the lifesaving skill of learning how to swim – until now.
In partnership with the Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council, Liverpool’s Indigenous Learn to Swim program by Belgravia Leisure delivered 23 youths under 12, a program of crucial weekly swimming lessons that could one day save their lives.
The lessons were fully subsidised by funds generated by the Reverse Vending Machine located at Whitlam Leisure Centre and were delivered to primary school children at Michael Wenden Aquatic Leisure Centre and high school-aged kids at Whitlam Leisure Centre.
Running from February through to April 2023, the program aimed to increase the youth’s swimming ability and confidence, remove the cost barriers for lessons, improve their overall fitness and cardiovascular health, develop their basic swimming skills, increase their knowledge of water safety and rescue techniques and create additional lesson and employment opportunities.
Laura and Harrison, two of the program’s participants, were both thrilled with their experience.
Laura said, “At first, I was scared to get into the swimming pool, but after a while, I started having fun, including going under the water. I’d love to come back again, and I’m hoping they provide this program again so I can.”
Harrison added, “This has been the best! I looked forward to every class and kept asking Mum when the next one would be. I’m so glad I’ve been able to learn how to swim because I know how important it is.”
Belgravia Leisure expresses gratitude for the partnership with Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council, acknowledging that the program’s success would not have been possible without their team and networks.
The program’s remarkable achievements underscore the significance of eliminating access barriers and establishing pathways for disadvantaged communities. This initiative exemplifies how collaborative efforts between community organisations and businesses can deliver vital services that foster health, wellbeing, and education.
Alex Simmons, NSW Regional Manager, said, “We aim to sustain the swimming program for the remainder of the school year, covering three additional terms then run it as an ongoing program for many years to come. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council to recruit more participants while ensuring accessibility and affordability whilst teaching such a valuable life skill.
“We are also thrilled to share that Michael Wenden has been selected as a finalist for The Aquas – Royal Life Saving Awards Gala, recognising the outstanding success of our Indigenous Learn to Swim program,” Alex concluded.