Low-cost lessons focus on safety

23:28, Feb 19 2013
Learn to swim
North Canterbury Sport and recreation learn to swim initiative L-R Sam Hills, Thomas Woodgate, Isaac Pamment, Jack Kennedy. Instructor Jody Weir

Children across Kaikoura are receiving swimming and water safety lessons thanks to a collaboration by Mainpower, Sport Tasman and the North Canterbury Sport and Recreation Trust.

The initiative began in Rangiora about 18 months ago after Mainpower expressed concern about the drowning rate in New Zealand and decided this was something the energy company was keen to get behind.

With funding from Sport Tasman and Kiwisport, the North Canterbury Sport and Recreation Trust is now delivering the programme further afield, and Kaikoura's schools will all be benefiting from the heavily subsidised classes, which focus on safety and confidence in the water.

Starfish- Swim instructors Shelley Riddell and Carrie Bittle help a group of children feel at ease

Held at the Kaikoura Lions Pool daily, small groups of children are introduced to techniques to keep themselves afloat and boost their courage.

Four instructors - Jo Willett, Jody Weir, Carrie Bittle and Shelley Riddell - have undergone an Austswim training course and co-ordinator Rosie Oliver, of North Canterbury Sport and Recreation Trust, says the programme has been very successful this summer.

"The idea is to make sure everyone gets 10 lessons a year. It's not about making them great swimmers, it's about being able to stay safe in the water and get out of trouble if they need to.


"Without the [financial] backing it wouldn't have got off the ground."

The programme enables children to have the 10 lessons for $10 and children are also provided with a shuttle bus ride to the pool.

At the end of this term sports coaching sessions will also be taken to local primary schools by North Canterbury Sport and Recreation.

Kaikoura Star