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Grants give kids gift of swimming lessons

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November 23, 2017

Grants from the Tomorrow Today Foundation and Benalla Rural City Council will allow nearly 300 years 5 and 6 pupils from Benalla P-12 and St Joseph’s to learn to swim.

Grants from the Tomorrow Today Foundation and Benalla Rural City Council will allow nearly 300 years 5 and 6 pupils from Benalla P-12 and St Joseph’s to learn to swim.

Following recent changes to the curriculum it is now a requirement of graduating primary school that pupils can swim 50 metres.

Benalla Aquatic Centre manager Elise Wood said the generous grants, which had a combined value of $5000, would allow many children reach that milestone.

‘‘We applied for grants to the Rural City Council and Tomorrow Today, not only to help kids graduate primary school, we also want to make sure they are safe around water,’’ Ms Wood said.

‘‘It’s also about making sure they know what to do to protect themselves and their friends when they go swimming.’’

Aquatic Centre staff will go to Benalla P-12 to offer the training, while pupils at St Joseph’s will be able to walk to the centre for swimming lessons.

Thanks to the grants there will be no cost to parents or the schools involved.

‘‘The grants will cover more than 90 per cent of costs,’’ Ms Wood said.

‘‘The remaining 10 per cent will be covered by some funding from the YMCA and we also have staff volunteering to help for free.

‘‘Our staff are very passionate about helping kids be safe around water.’’

The program is scheduled to take place in the final weeks of school before the Christmas break.

Ms Wood said the timing of this was deliberate as it would ensure pupils had the lessons before they had the opportunity to be near water during the summer.

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