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Mile End Park Leisure Centre teams up with local schools to get kids swimming

Learning to swim - 1

A child swims at Mile End Leisure Centre watched by a swimming teacher.

Mile End Park Leisure Centre and Stadium in Tower Hamlets teamed up with a host of local schools to get kids in the pool and learning to swim over the half term break. Over 300 children, many of whom were completely new to swimming, benefitted from the innovative intensive swimming programme.

Leisure operator and social enterprise GLL, who operate the facilities in the borough under the customer facing brand of Better, opened their doors at Mile End Park Leisure Centre to welcome pupils to a week-long intensive short course.

The intensive swimming programme consisted of daily swimming lessons over half term, and pupils were taught essential swimming skills whilst having fun in the water with a range of engagement activities and games. The programme’s overarching aim was to encourage pupils to exceed the National Curriculum standard of 25 metres.

Children and instructor in the pool

Lawdale, Stewart Headlam, Hague, Columbia and Bigland Green primary schools put forward pupils they felt would be best suited to the scheme. The response has been staggering with usage exceeding 800 visits between 26 to 29 October.

Local resident and parent of three children who took part, Donna, commented: “The lessons have been brilliant. Two of my children were completely new to swimming so this has been a great way for them to learn. We’ve loved coming to the leisure centre this week and we can’t wait to come along again.”

General Manager at Mile End Park, Billy Jones, added: “It has been brilliant to see the partnership work with local schools in action this week with our intensive learn to swim programme. This is a great example of GLL re-investing back into our local community. We’re already looking to see how we can run similar programmes during the next school holidays.” 

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Swimming is the only sport that saves lives, as well as being great fun and good for keeping fit. I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to offer these lessons and that hundreds more local children have now reached the curriculum standard of twenty-five metres having been taught to swim and learnt an invaluable lifelong skill.” 


For further press information contact Phill Kemp, Community Sport Manager on phil.kemp@gll.org or 07548 132 890.

Notes to the editor

Photographs show: young people learning to swim at Mile End Park Leisure Centre & Stadium. 

Better is the consumer facing brand for GLL. Established in 1993, GLL is the largest UK-based charitable social enterprise delivering leisure, health and community services. We operate over 250 public sport and leisure centres and 113 libraries in partnership with 50 local councils, public agencies and sporting organisations. Our leisure facilities enjoy more than 54 million visitors a year with over 850,000 members.


Posted on Tuesday 2nd November 2021