Do you use some of the free swimming sessions offered at pools in the Wrexham county borough?

If so, you’ll want to read the following.

After a recent review of Sports Wales’ Free Swimming Initiative, taking a look at how its services might be better targeted at groups like young people and the over 60s, the Welsh Government has decided to make some changes to what the service offers and how it works.

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This means there are changes on the way to free swim sessions at pools in the county borough.

This includes all pools run by Wrexham Council alongside partners Freedom Leisure, and the pool at Plas Madoc Leisure Centre, run by Splash Community Trust.

The changes come into place from Tuesday, October 1.

Why are the changes happening?

An independent review of the Free Swimming Initiative scheme, held by UK Research and Consultancy Services, determined that the scheme was no longer really fit for purpose.

While it’s got thousands of people swimming since its inception in 2003, the amount of young people benefiting from the scheme has been in significant decline since 2013/14.

And in terms of people aged 60 or over, the review found that only about six per cent of the targeted demographic currently access the scheme.

With that in mind, the Welsh Government has decided to make some changes to the scheme, with a reduction in the overall budget and a drop in the amount of sessions available.

Under the changed objectives, the scheme will focus on young people and people over the age of 60 from areas of deprivation, and making sure people who traditionally might not have accessed the services have the chance to learn a new life skill, and start swimming more frequently.

How will the scheme affect me?

The free swimming offer at pools in the county borough will be revised to the following hours:

Freedom Leisure Pools

Under 16s

One session per week, per pool, throughout all 52 weeks of the year at:

  • Chirk – Sunday, 2pm to 3pm
  • Gwyn Evans – Sundays, 10am to 11am
  • Waterworld – Saturdays, 3.30pm to 4.30pm

Over 60s

Two hours per week, across 39 weeks (availability will be affected by holiday periods) at:

  • Gwyn Evans – Thursdays, 3pm to 4pm; and Fridays, 5.30pm to 6.30pm.
  • Waterworld – Tuesdays, 9am to 10am; and Fridays, 2pm to 3pm.
  • Chirk – Mondays, 2.30pm to 3.30pm; and Wednesdays, 2.30pm to 3.30pm.

Splash Community Trust

Under 16s

One session per week, throughout all 52 weeks of the year at:

  • Plas Madoc Leisure Centre – Saturdays, 3pm to 4pm

Overs 60s

Two hours per week, across 39 weeks (availability will be affected by holiday periods) at:

  • Plas Madoc Leisure Centre – Mondays, 10.30am to 11.30am; and Tuesday, 11am until noon.

Further updates and details are available on Freedom Leisure’s website, and at the website for Plas Madoc Leisure Centre.

Additional under-16 splash sessions will be offered during the summer holidays.

“Will make sure sessions remain accessible”

Cllr Andrew Atkinson, Lead Member for Youth Services and Anti-Poverty, with responsibility for Leisure, said: “We will work alongside partners to ensure the free swimming sessions remain accessible, and will make sure that users are aware of the new times and offerings as the changes take place.”

“We will also work alongside Sports Wales to promote the scheme to traditional hard-to-reach groups, to make sure they can benefit from the scheme – in line with the new priorities set out by Welsh Government.”

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