Taking the plunge to teach young people swim safety skills

Thursday, 24 November 2022

An immersive partnership program is providing swimming lessons for young people in the Penrith Local Government Area ahead of the summer season.

Penrith City Council’s Children’s Services has partnered with Ripples St Marys to deliver a six-week Learn to Swim program to some of the City’s youngest residents attending local Out of School Hours Care, to help keep local families safe in and around the water.

This is in response to devastating statistics released in the Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report 2022, which revealed there were 15 drowning deaths in children aged 5-14 years in 2021 – an increase of 7% from the previous year and a 36% spike on the 10-year average.

Penrith Mayor Tricia Hitchen commended Children’s Services and Ripples on working together to make water safety a priority in the community and said the teams were passing on vital skills in an innovative way.

“Council is proud of this collaboration between Children’s Services and Ripples as it provides a solution for parents who may not be able to get their children to swimming lessons,” Cr Hitchen said.

“Whether they are time-poor or can’t afford to add another expense due to the rising cost of living, this is a suitable alternative and a great service for families,” she said.

“The program is seeing young people develop their swimming ability and confidence while teaching them life-saving water safety skills – and these young people get to learn in a fun way alongside their friends.

“This then sparks important conversations at home and in our community around water safety, which might one day make the difference in saving the life of a child or their family member.”

Young people from Oxley Park and Kingswood Park Out of School Hours Care are the first to participate in this joint program.

Children’s Services and Ripples are committed to delivering the service to young people in other parts of the community and plan to expand the program in 2023.

To find out more about Ripples’ swim school, visit ripplesnsw.com.au/learn-to-swim

For more information about Children's Services, go to penrith.city/childcare

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Thursday, 24 November 2022.