Published 14 July 2022

Hundreds of children and young people across West Dunbartonshire have enjoyed free swimming and gym access as part of the Council’s commitment to help families with the increased cost of living.

As part of a £1million cost of living fund set up in June, all school pupils can swim at West Dunbartonshire Leisure facilities for free, while pupils between the age of 12 and 18 can also access free gym sessions.

Councillors with children at pool side

Both initiatives are in place for the duration of the summer holidays in a bid to take the financial pressure off families during the break.

In the first three weeks since schools finished, more than 1500 young people took advantage of the free swim sessions in Clydebank Leisure Centre, the Meadow Centre in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven swimming pool.

Almost 900 pupils accessed the gym, while a further 140 undertook a half-price gym induction to allow them to use the gym equipment independently.

Councillor David McBride, Chair of West Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust, said: “This is a fantastic initiative that will help keep children fit over the summer, as well as provide a fun family activity with minimal cost.  We understand the financial pressures faced by our families and we know this is amplified when schools are off due to added requirement for food and entertainment. That is why I’m so glad to see so many are enjoying this offer – I hope it has helped our families keep costs down.

“There’s still time to take advantage too, so if you haven’t visited one of our pools or gyms yet, I’d encourage you to do so before the schools go back.”

Depute Council Leader, Councillor Michelle McGinty, who is chairing a cross party Cost of Living Working Group, added: “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 are 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.”

The initiative allows all school pupils to swim for free between 11am and 3pm, while free juvenile gym sessions are available to young people aged between 12 and 18 between 12pm and 4pm. The initiatives will run until the schools return on 17 August.

Participants must attend a West Dunbartonshire school or be a resident, and they must have a valid Leisure Card. The first card is issued for free.