Swim for Fruit receives a scholarship boost

9 February 2017

Royal Life Saving Society WA's Inclusion Officer Jessica Cruickshank was recently awarded the Dr Heather MacGowan OAM Scholarship for a proposal to research our popular Go for 2&5 Swim for Fruit program which is conducted across WA’s Pilbara region.

Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies, who is a Vice Patron for Royal Life Saving Society WA says Ms Cruickshank was chosen for the annual scholarship because the work she proposes to do is vitally important, and will increase water safety awareness for communities where it’s most needed.

"Water safety awareness and the ability to swim are central to our Western Australian lifestyle, whether you live on the coast or swim at your local pool," Ms Davies said. "Jessica will receive $9,500 to research this program and will share her results so all sports in the region can benefit from her work."

Royal Life Saving Society WA delivers the Go for 2&5 Swim for Fruit program at seven pools across the Pilbara region, including a number of remote Aboriginal communities. It aims to encourage children aged five to 17 to participate in regular physical activity at the pool by providing participation incentives such as a healthy afternoon tea.

As part of her scholarship work, Ms Cruickshank will travel to the World Conference on Drowning Prevention in Canada to engage with international leaders in the aquatic industry, and compare and contrast her findings to various international organisations.

"Jessica will report her findings back to our local industry and offer recommendations, including how to best use an incentive-based model when engaging Aboriginal youth from the Pilbara region into sport and recreation," Ms Davies said.

Royal Life Saving Society WA CEO Peter Leaversuch says, the fact the scholarship is name after Heather MacGowan, a life member of Royal Life Saving Society WA, who represented Australia at international lifesaving events and served as National President of The Royal Life Saving Society Australia from 1994-1997, makes it even more special.

“The Heather MacGowan scholarship is highly valued and so important for our industry. Like all other sport and recreation organisations we are focused on service delivery to the community and tend to make the mistake of not investing in our people. Congratulations to the Department of Sport of Recreation for funding this scholarship and naming it in honour of Heather.”

The State Government through the Department of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Healthway are major supporters of the Swim for Fruit program in Western Australia. Sport and recreation builds stronger, healthier, happier and safer communities.

Find out more about the program here.

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