Free swimming for youngsters during Jubilee week
8:00am Sunday 11th March 2012 in News
A Victorian banquet for poor children in 1897 was the inspiration for allowing Wandsworth children to enjoy free swimming during the week of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Councillors agreed to waive fees for children under 16 from June 4-8, after the idea was put forward by an opposition councillor during a meeting on March 8.
The idea was inspired by Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 when poor children in Battersea were invited to a free celebratory meal.
It will be funded using £8,000 funds generated before the free swimming for children aged under 16 was axed in July 2010.
Councillor Sheila Boswell, who came up with the idea, said: "On the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, it was proposed to give a treat to the poor children of Battersea in the form of a Jubilee meal.
"I thought it would be great to replicate this in a modern day universal gift to mark the occasion of this Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and so proposed the idea of free swimming during half term week for all Wandsworth children under 16."
Council leader Ravi Govindia said: "This initiative will be taken up in the light of DC Leisure’s welcome of the proposal and will be another example of the company’s commitment to working with the Council for the benefit and well-being of its residents."
Swimming providers DC Leisure said its profits have dropped as fewer adults accompanying children since the age limit was lowered to eight for free swimming.