The Swim Safe programme of outdoor swimming and water safety sessions has returned to Sandhaven beach.
The programme, aimed at 7 to 14-year-old’s, runs Wednesday to Saturday until August 20 and is delivered in partnership between the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
It is the third year that Swim Safe has taken place at Sandhaven in South Shields, with more than 1,800 children in Tyneside taught how to enjoy the sea safely over those three years.
Eight-year-old Lennon Hall, a pupil from Bede Burn Primary School in Jarrow, attended more than 15 Swim Safe sessions last year at Sandhaven.
Jayne Hall, Lennon’s mum, said: “Lennon became hooked on Swim Safe last year and is very excited that it’s returning to Sandhaven.
“He really enjoyed the fun and interactive nature of the sessions and embraced all the sea safety messages – he practically lived in his wetsuit all summer and would have slept in it if he could!
Ms Hall added: “He recently wrote to the mayor of South Tyneside, councillor Alan Smith, to tell him of his lifesaving ambition of becoming an RNLI lifeguard and to let him know how he’s been raising vital money for the charity with the help of his school friends.
“Lennon has since invited the mayor and mayoress to Swim Safe and is over the moon that they’ve accepted and will come along to see an interactive session in action.”
Each session includes a land-based safety lesson with a lifeguard, followed by in-water tuition with a swimming teacher.
The mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr Alan Smith, said: “It is imperative that youngsters across South Tyneside are aware of the potential dangers of being in and around open water.
“The Swim Safe sessions are a great way for children to learn how to identify hazards and dangerous situations as well as build their confidence and water safety skill this summer, to set them up for the future.”
Kate Nicholson, Swim Safe coordinator at Sandhaven, added: “There are all sorts of environmental factors to consider when you’re swimming outdoors and it’s important to remember that being in and around the sea is a very different environment to that of an indoor swimming pool.
“I’d recommend any parent thinking of spending time at the beach this summer to register their child for a free session.”
Parents can book their children onto a Swim Safe session here or can come along on the day.
Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with t-shirt are all provided.