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Outdoor Swimming

Volume 736: debated on Thursday 20 July 2023

Outdoor swimming represents one of the many ways to stay active. Through the together fund, Sport England has provided over £80,000 for outdoor swimming projects. Swimming and water safety forms a mandatory part of the primary PE national curriculum.

The Beccles lido does great work in promoting outdoor swimming in the Waveney area, but it and other lidos have been particularly hard hit by high energy costs and long-term fixed-price contracts, often arranged by rogue energy brokers. The swimming pool fund is extremely welcome, but I urge my right hon. Friend to work with lidos to put in place a long-term plan for their future.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight the importance of swimming pools and lidos. We announced the swimming pool fund to help those that have been particularly struggling with high energy costs. Sport England also plays a vital role in working with local authorities on managing sustainable facilities, and we will shortly publish our new sports strategy, which will set continued commitments in this area.

Wild swimming conjures up all sorts of things in my mind—probably more emphasis on the wild.

I thank the hon. Member for Waveney (Peter Aldous) for the question and the Minister for his response. Growing up in Ballywalter in the ’60s—also the age I am right now—there were no swimming pools, and we always used the sea. It is important that water has the quality and cleanliness to allow people to swim, so has the Minister spoken to any of the councils or authorities in Northern Ireland to ensure that our waters, including Strangford lough and the sea off Ballywalter, are of a standard that enables people to swim without any fear?

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to highlight the importance of the quality of outdoor waters, and a lot of work is done to educate children in water safety. I have not had the chance to speak to anybody in Northern Ireland yet, but I understand that I may well be going there during the recess, so I will take the opportunity to do just that.