Narrabri’s Ally Cameron and Will Hayne were two of more than 40 children from the across the district who dived straight into swimming lessons during the school holidays.

The Royal Life Saving Society has been running an eight-day, learn to swim program at the Narrabri Aquatic Centre.

Children aged two to 11 have been learning skills from kicking and floating to stroke correction, and at an affordable price thanks to funding from Sport Australia.

The Royal Life Saving Society was awarded a $240,000 Move It AUS Participation grant from Sport Australia to deliver learn to swim and water safety awareness programs to communities around Australia.

Move It AUS is a national awareness campaign that aims to encourage every Australian child to get active for at least an hour a day.

The lessons are partly funded by the Royal Life Saving Society and the aim is to teach young swimmers the skills they need to stay safe in the water.

“It provides an opportunity for participants to gain a greater understanding of the importance of being active, encouraging them to embrace swimming and aquatic activity as a regular, enjoyable part of a healthy lifestyle,” said Justin Scarr, chief executive of Royal Life Saving.

Children from Narrabri, Wee Waa and Rowena have attended the learn to swim program.

As well as basic skills and water safety awareness training, it’s hoped the funding will help remove barriers to participation such as transport to and from often very remote locations to a swimming pool, the cost of lessons, pool entry and equipment such as goggles and caps.

“Often severe drought or weather events can greatly impact a family’s ability to participate in recreational activities, so a program such as the Move It AUS learn to swim not only encourage families to come back to the pool, but we can also provide essential water safety lessons at the same time,” added Jason Phillips, regional manager of Royal Life Saving NSW Northern regional office.

“The local pool can be the hub for communities to get together and it’s especially important during these times that we encourage families in regional areas to visit their pool and participate in aquatic activities,” said Mr Phillips.

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