Free swimming scheme made permanent

July 04 2022
Free swimming scheme made permanent

Thornbury & Yate MP Luke Hall writes for the Voice

WITH three young children, I know how important it is for our local health and family services to receive support and investment.

This is why, working alongside Circadian Trust and South Gloucestershire Council’s public health team, I was delighted to have helped launch a new scheme offering free swimming to local expectant mothers throughout their pregnancy. 

Swimming has numerous benefits specifically for pregnant women, such as preventing diabetes during pregnancy, reducing the need for caesarean sections, improved fitness and reducing high blood pressure.

Swimming can also have a long-term effect on a child’s development beyond birth, with further research suggesting that it has a potential for improving the mental and physical health of children well into adulthood. 

The Free Swimming Pilot scheme was launched in March 2020, however due to the pandemic was postponed for few months, before being relaunched in April last year.
I am delighted that following the pilot scheme’s year-long trial, Circadian Trust are now working with our local public health team to extend the scheme permanently, and make this a permanent fixture and service for pregnant women living in South Gloucestershire. 

The free service has been offered in Active Leisure Centre across South Gloucestershire, including Yate and Thornbury. 

Further details and guidance for women who are interested in the scheme will be announced very soon.

Delivering this promise of free swimming has been an incredibly important objective in my positive plan for health and family life here in South Gloucestershire.

The idea for such an initiative came from new research which demonstrates the huge benefits of exercise, and in particular swimming, for pregnant women.  

The Royal College of Midwifery welcomed reports from NHS England, as well as recommendations from the Government’s Chief Medical Officer, who advised parents to aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity during pregnancy.

Swimming is widely recognised as a low-impact method of aerobic exercise, and is particularly good for pregnant women, as it can be performed safely in all three trimesters. 

The news is a great step forward in achieving the first stage of my positive plan, to improve family life and our local health provision.

In addition to this latest success, we are making further progress with our bid to redevelop Thornbury Health Centre, investing over £200,000 in local playgrounds, and continuing to push for a return of health services to Frenchay.

With your valued and ongoing support, we can keep on delivering these vital improvements for our community.