Published 31 August 2022

A Council initiative offering free swimming and gym access to children and young people across West Dunbartonshire has been hailed a huge success.

More than 9000 free exercise sessions were snapped up during the school summer holidays as part of a £1million cost of living fund created to help ease the rising financial pressure on families.

During the six week summer break between June and August all school pupils were able to use West Dunbartonshire Leisure swimming facilities for free, while pupils between the age of 12 and 18 could also access free gym sessions.

A total of 6060 free swim sessions were recorded at Clydebank Leisure Centre, the Meadow Centre in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven swimming pool.

There were 3188 gym visits, plus a further 372 half-price gym induction sessions to allow pupils to use the equipment independently.

Councillor David McBride, Chair of West Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust, said: “The fantastic response from our young people proves what a huge success this initiative has been.

“Our investment has helped to keep children fit over the summer and provided a fun family activity with minimal cost. 

“We understand the financial pressures faced by our families and we knew this would be amplified when schools were off due to added requirement for food and entertainment.

“That is why I’m delighted to see that so many of our young people enjoyed this offer – and I hope it has helped their families keep costs down.”

Depute Council Leader, Councillor Michelle McGinty, who is chairing a cross party Cost of Living Working Group, added: “I am delighted that so many children and families have benefited from this scheme.

“As the new administration in West Dunbartonshire our highest priority is to ensure we take real, tangible action to help our communities with the cost of living.

“These swim and gym sessions were just the first of many plans to help ease the financial pressure for those who have been hardest hit, and I am pleased to see that the uptake has been so high.”