Multicultural children learn to Swim and Survive at Bayswater

4 May 2016
During the recent school holidays a group of 28 children from a number of different multicultural backgrounds were given the opportunity to learn vital Swim and Survive skills at the Bayswater Waves Aquatic Centre.

The children took part in a five day Swim and Survive Access and Equity program from Monday 18th to Friday 22nd April, with several getting involved in swimming and water safety lessons for the very first time. Some of the children had taken part in previous Access and Equity programs and it was fantastic to see the amazing progress they have made.

On Wednesday 20th April Royal Life Saving Society WA Inclusion Officer Jessica Cruickshank conducted a water safety talk with the children’s parents, focusing on pool safety and the importance of keeping watch whenever their children are around water.

The Swim and Survive Access and Equity program is proudly supported by Royal Life Saving Society WA’s Principal Community Partner BHP Billiton and is designed to address limited water safety awareness and low participation levels in at-risk communities. The program will target over 600 at-risk students this year. A further 800 participants will receive vital water safety awareness via activities such as water safety talks and resuscitation courses.

“The Swim and Survive Access and Equity Program not only helps children to have fun while being active and making new friends, but participating in this program helps to build their confidence in the water, while learning vital swimming and water safety skills that may one day save their life” said Trent Hotchkin, Senior Manager, Royal Life Saving Society WA.

Drowning remains one of the leading causes of preventable death in Australian children. Between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014, three children aged 0-14 drowned in backyard swimming pools in WA. In addition on average there are 10 children admitted to hospitals across the state following an immersion injury for every drowning death in this age group.

In order to prevent these tragedies, every Australian child must have basic swimming, water safety skills and knowledge of how to be safe when they are in, on, or around the water.

The reality is, in many communities, a swimming and water safety education is simply not accessible. Children from low socio-economic areas, Indigenous communities, culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds and those that live in regional or remote locations are most likely to miss out because of a lack of access and social or economic disadvantage

Royal Life Saving Society WA has established the ‘WA Swim and Survive Fund’ which utilises donations from individuals, community organisations, corporate supporters and Royal Life Saving Partner facilities across Australia, to increase access to swimming and water safety education for children at risk of drowning.