City welcomes funding to help get local kids water safe for the Summer

Published on 12 October 2021

Lotterywest funding to Royal Life Saving.JPG

The City of Swan has welcomed $200,000 in funding from Lotterywest to Royal Life Saving WA to provide programs across the State that build water safety skills and reduce the risk of drowning in children from culturally diverse backgrounds.

Funding ensures the Royal Life Saving WA can continue to run the programs over the next two years.

The organisation worked with the Perth Myanmar Learning Centre at Swan Active Ballajura during the school holidays to provide swimming and water safety classes to more than 30 children and adults from the Myanmar community.

With 40 per cent of drownings in WA involving people who were born overseas, the program aims to reduce this figure by providing swimming and water safety lessons to children and adults, water safety talks to youth and basic first aid sessions to parents and carers of young children.

Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon. Dr Tony Buti MLA visited Swan Active Ballajura and program participants during the school holidays.

“If you grew up in Australia, generally you would have learnt to swim at school or during the summer school program, but for people from overseas, that may not be the case,” he said.

“This program is all about trying to reduce that number to zero people drowning and to allow people from other backgrounds and new immigrants to this country to enjoy the Australian past time of swimming in summer.”

Royal Life Saving WA CEO Peter Leaversuch said it was the organisation’s goal to educate everyone from all backgrounds on water safety.

“If someone is in distress, and a rescue has to be attempted or if someone needs resuscitation then gender, culture or faith is irrelevant; to be able to assist someone in distress is one of the greatest gifts and to learn these skills is so important,” he said.

“This funding announcement by the Minister on behalf of Lotterywest will make a significant difference.”

City of Swan Mayor Kevin Bailey said the inclusion of multicultural groups in aquatic activities is an important priority for local residents.

“Thirty per cent of the City of Swan’s population come from overseas and countries where swimming is not part of their culture,” he said.

“This program expands our connection with our community; our aquatic centres provide an environment where people from diverse backgrounds are welcomed, included, educated and supported so they can enjoy time in the water safely like everyone else,” he said.

“Some of these children had never been in a swimming pool before starting this program and they were very timid, but we have seen them develop a great deal of confidence going into the water because of this program.”

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