SWIMMING lessons are being offered to eligible children at a discount at leisure centres across Cornwall.

Better leisure centres at Bude, Saltash, Liskeard, St Austell, Bodmin, Newquay, Truro, Helston and St Ives are offering a 20 per cent discount on regular swim school membership rates.

Membership covers one swimming lesson per week and also entitles the child to swim free in their home centre’s ‘swim for all’ sessions.

Children learning to swim ( )

International Learn to Swim Week is being held between May 13 and 19 and GLL senior manager Amelia Kitchen believes it is even more vital to promote the campaign’s #LoveWaterSafely message at this time of year, in a county with more than 400 beaches.

She said: “We’re at the start of what’s likely to be another busy summer season and most families will want to dip their toes in the sea whilst enjoying Cornwall’s wonderful coastline.

“Teaching children to swim so they can make the most of being in such a beautiful part of the world is essential, and local leisure centres have an important role to play in making sure professional instruction is both available and affordable.

“Our concessionary swim school membership has been introduced to help those facing financial challenge. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, we provide local communities with leisure facilities that support physical and mental wellbeing, as well as facilitating the achievement of life skills like swimming.

“Recent research from Sport England indicates a clear correlation between family affluence and a child’s ability to swim 25m - with those from wealthier families significantly more likely to achieve the milestone. That’s a worrying statistic that we’re doing what we can to change.”

People on a range of benefits are eligible for the children’s swimming lesson discounts, including those on housing benefit, income support, job seeker’s allowance, working families tax credit, carers allowance, universal credit and disability personal independence payments. Refugees and anyone with a disabled ID card also qualify.

Sarah Schofield, area swim school lead, said: “As a social enterprise we are pleased to be supporting local families and we hope to encourage even more children to learn this lifesaving and enjoyable skill.”