First class! Pupils offered free access to dive in and build their fitness

Wednesday, 19 October, 2022

Jim Neill, Chair of EDLC Trust Iain Campbell, Operations Manager of Kirkintilloch Leisure Centre Megan Macpherson, Leisure Assistant Cllr Gordan Low, Leader of East Dunbartonshire Council
Over 17,000 school pupils in East Dunbartonshire will be offered free gym and swim access as part of the cost of living support package recently announced by the Council.

Between November 2022 and March 2023, all primary school pupils in the area will be able to enjoy free swimming while secondary students aged 12-18 can access a range of free gym sessions.

At its meeting in September, the Council allocated East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture (EDLC) Trust £500,000 to deliver this programme, which will potentially benefit 17,291 pupils.

Council Leader Gordan Low said, “We know the importance of activities that can boost both physical and mental health, but the cost of living crisis means many families face a financial barrier to accessing these for their children.

“As part of our £2.1 million support package, we wanted to give our school pupils the opportunity to remain active during these difficult times and enjoy the leisure facilities we have in East Dunbartonshire.

“We are committed to doing whatever we can to support our residents and we hope that this initiative can help alleviate some of the financial pressures while inspiring our children and young people to enjoy exercise and leisure activities.”

The free swimming and gym sessions are available at all three leisure centres in the area - Allander, Kirkintilloch, and the Leisuredrome - from Tuesday 1 November.

Primary pupils can turn up to swim from 1 November while secondary students will be asked to register and take part in a gym induction. Registration will open shortly and must be completed in person at any of the three centres.

All existing 'Unlimited Swim' members of primary school age will be contacted and will benefit from no subscription payments during the term of this initiative. The same applies for any secondary students who are already gym members.

FAQ's for parents/carers or pupils who want to find out more information.

Jim Neill, Chair of East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust, added, “Sport has a major part to play in our physical health and mental wellbeing which in turn contributes to a happy and healthy society. It is therefore important that our young people are able to access local, high-quality sports and leisure activities.

“This fantastic programme will help thousands of local primary and secondary pupils, and I hope as many as possible take part and enjoy some swimming and gym sessions over the next five months.”

As well as the free swim and gym sessions, the Council also agreed a range of measures to address the current cost of living crisis including: an additional Winter Support Payment for each eligible child; Farmfoods vouchers to support those families in extreme short-term need with food provision; and energy vouchers for Council tenants and people experiencing homelessness.