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Tuesday 22 June 2010




A government announcement that free swimming for the under 16s and over 60s is due to end on July, 31 has been met with disappointment but also understanding within Cheshire East Council

Speaking after the announcement, Cheshire East Councillor, Andrew Knowles, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said:

“I am disappointed this scheme has been cut short. It had proved extremely popular amongst the people of Cheshire East; providing a simple and cost effective way to keep fit and healthy.

“However, this is an understandable decision; the government has made no secret of its intentions to make difficult cuts. We must all make some sacrifices for the sake of the economy as a whole.

“The numbers of people attending local leisure centres, including paying customers, had increased dramatically and I am sure this was mostly down to the free swimming sessions which got people into our leisure centres for the first time.”

The scheme, introduced in April 2009, was due to run until April next year.

Councillor Knowles continued:

“It is too soon to say if Cheshire East alone can continue such a scheme. However, this will most definitely be a topic of discussion within the council over the coming months. We need to identify those residents who will benefit from the continuation of free swimming.

“Alternatively, we may look at allocating certain days or times in which swimming could be free. As of today, we have suspended any new registrations to the free swimming schemes until further notice. This does not affect existing registered members.

“There is no doubt we can work together to look at alternative arrangements and aim to keep the cost of swimming at a minimum. I can only hope the scheme, even in its short life, has introduced many more people to swimming and the accessibility of our leisure centres here in Cheshire East.”

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