Swim for Fruit program continues to thrive in remote communities

20 January 2020

Children from Western Australia’s remote communities have been getting their fill of fresh fruit and activity through Royal Life Saving WA and Healthway’s Go for 2&5 Swim for Fruit program. 

The Swim for Fruit program encourages children in regional communities to swim laps at their local pool and rewards them with a healthy afternoon tea following each session. In addition to fruit, participants can earn incentives such as goggles, Swim & Survive packs, t-shirts and flippers. 

Swim for Fruit participants in Newman

Recently a few communities have had notable participation.

Roeburn had a successful season with approximately 60 kids participating each week. Their Swim for Fruit series lasts for 10 weeks at a time. They plan on continuing to run the program January. 

Kids in Wickam have enjoyed not only the fruit but also participating in aqua sports including noodle races and volleyball. They have had 45 kids attend each session, which runs for 10 weeks throughout the summer. They also plan on continuing through January. 

Swim for Fruit teamed up with the Newman Martu Education Centre to engage kids locally. They had 9-10 kids participate in every lesson. 

Fitzroy Crossing enjoyed some hard-earned apple slinkys for their swimming laps. This session has seen over 200 kids participating in the program overall.  

The Swim for Fruit program first began in Jigalong in 2009 before expanding to other regional and remote communities. It has been successful in engaging Aboriginal children in swimming and increasing fruit consumption. This is largely due to the strong relationships pool managers have created within the community. 

Trent Hotchkin, Royal Life Saving Society WA’s Senior Manager Swimming and Water Safety Education says “Drowning data shows that over the past ten years there’s been a 62% reduction in the number of children aged 5-14 drowning in Western Australia. This age group continues to be one of the drowning prevention success stories and programs like Swim for Fruit are a big factor in this success.”

Kids in Roeburn enjoying afternoon tea with the swim for fruit program

“However, the data also reveals that 54% of drowning deaths in this age group happened in regional and remote areas of WA, and 27% involved Aboriginal children. We need to continue to focus our attention to ensure children in these parts of our state have access to swimming and water safety programs.”

In 2019 Healthway committed to funding the program for three more years, which will allow for expansion to even more communities.

Click below for more details on the Go for 2&5 Swim for Fruit Program.

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