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Armed forces free swimming scheme to be extended

25 Jun 2022 2 minute read
Swimming pool, image by Welsh Government

The Welsh Government has announced additional funding to support the continuation of the Armed Forces Free Swimming scheme.

The scheme enables serving members of the Armed Forces and Veterans who live in Wales to swim for free at participating leisure centres and pools, using their Defence Privilege Card.

The Armed Forces Free Swimming Scheme (AFFS) was first introduced in 2016 and the Welsh Government says it represents the continued commitment to provide the Armed Forces community with access to services which meet their specific needs and recognise the service they have given to their country.

Throughout the 2021-22 financial year the scheme was taken up on average each quarter by 569 serving military personnel and veterans across Wales.

The trend shows an increase in uptake as restrictions have been lifted, with the last quarter recording a peak of 879 people benefitting from 2641 visits to their local community swimming pools.

Making the announcement to to coincide with Armed Forces Day, the Welsh Government says to support the scheme, £45,000 to be issued every year over a three-year period between 2022 and 2025.

Recuperative benefits

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said: “I’m very pleased that we are able to continue to support this scheme which is designed to ensure members of the Armed Forces past and present are able to benefit from the physical, and mental, health benefits swimming can offer.”

Deputy Minister for Social Partnerships, Hannah Blythyn, said: “We are committed to supporting our Armed Forces personnel and recognise how initiatives like this can boost their mental and physical wellbeing. I hope they can enjoy the benefits from this scheme over the next three years.”

Chris Llewelyn, WLGA Chief Executive said: “Local government is proud to deliver free swimming for our Armed Forces personnel and Veterans.

“We hope that even more people take part in the scheme in the coming year, taking advantage of the significant recuperative and social benefits physical activity offers.

“There are participating pools in each of Wales’ local authorities; to find out where your closest facility is, visit your local authority website.”

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