Sideshore, Exmouth’s new Watersports centre has announced that half of all parking fees collected during 2021 will be donated to fund additional swimming lessons for local children who need extra support. The Dixon Foundation, is supporting this project to enable LED Community Leisure to deliver these lessons as soon as possible

Swimming is a compulsory part of the National Curriculum, but Swim England, the national governing body for swimming in England, revealed a staggering 23% of children leave primary school unable to swim 25-metres unaided*. For many children, if they do not learn to swim at school, then they will never learn this life-saving skill.

Sideshore will be working closely with local primary schools and the parents of home-educated children to support those needing additional swimming training Those children identified as needing support will be offered a free 6-week swimming course to boost their confidence in the water and learn an essential life-saving skill.

Simon Findel-Hawkins, Centre Manager at Sideshore, said: “We want to see more children safely enjoying the water, whether that is at their local swimming pool or on the beautiful Exmouth coast trying a new sport.

Schools do a fantastic job teaching children these essential skills and this initiative will expand this teaching to children who need it most”

Mark Dixon, Founder, The Dixon Foundation, said: “The Dixon Foundation are delighted to be working closely with Sideshore, Swim England, and LED Community Leisure to help provide essential swimming lessons to children, so they can enjoy swimming safely and confidently.

Sideshore offers an amazing opportunity to learn a new sport, and we hope these free lessons will provide more children the chance to take part and be passionate about enjoying what our coast has to offer.”

Swim England, commented: “Swimming is the only activity you can do at any age and at any ability but, almost one in four children cannot swim the statutory 25 metres when they leave primary school, and so this fantastic new initiative will enable local children, particularly those in deprived areas, to learn to swim unaided.”

The long-term health and wellbeing benefits of swimming include lowering stress, anxiety, and depression, improving heart health, lung capacity, and bone strength. Regular swimming is also recognised as helping to reduce long-term health conditions including diabetes and heart disease.