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Funding boost helps keep Porirua kids safe in the water

news - dash swim school at ngati toa school

Ngāti Toa school students take part in the Water Skills for Life programme with Dash swim instructor Aisa Toomaga Allen earlier this year.

A funding boost has been given to Porirua City’s swim school which will see more children than ever taught vital water safety skills.

In Water Safety New Zealand funding confirmed this week the council-run Dash Swim School received $40,000 to run the Water Skills for Life programme, up $10,000 from the previous year.

Water Safety NZ’s CEO Jonty Mills said Porirua City’s programme was a shining example of how to reach children and give them essential water safety skills.

“Dash has been very effective at delivering Water Skills for Life to primary school children in Porirua. This is what we would like to see nationwide to keep our kids safe in, on and around water.”

The funding coincided with a new Otago University study which showed that two thirds of kiwi kids are unable to swim 100 metres.

Mr Mills said central and local government needed to work with schools and communities to make aquatic education a priority.

“Porirua City has embraced our Water Skills for Life programme and Dash Swim School do a great job of working with local schools to get the programme to as many students as possible,” Mr Mills said.

Mayor Mike Tana said the additional funding would mean 2000 Porirua children would now be taught essential water safety skills, at a reduced cost to schools – just $1 per student per lesson.

“This is a great boost for our young people.  Our tamariki are our taonga, and in Porirua the sea and harbour are a special part of our city – it’s vital that we teach our kids how to stay safe in the water,” he said.

“Dash Swim School is a leader in aquatic education and this extra funding gives them even more scope to continue their important work, which could ultimately save lives.”

The Water Skills for Life programme takes a new approach to keeping young people safe in the water – focusing on safety skills, before teaching specific swimming strokes, Mr Mills said.

“International research has shown us that one of the most effective ways to bring our high drowning toll down is through teaching core safety skills before focusing on stroke and distance,” he says.

“This will then flow into safer and wider participation in water-based activities, providing students with skills that support their health and well-being and the knowledge to enjoy our pools, beaches, lakes and rivers with confidence.” 

21 Sep 2017