Welsh Government introduces free swimming for Armed Forces
Free swimming for Armed Forces and veterans is the latest initiative to be launched by the Welsh Government as part of its Package of Support for the Armed Forces Community.
The Deputy Minister for Culture Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, and Public Services Minister, Leighton Andrews will be at Risca Leisure Centre today to officially launch the nationwide roll-out of the scheme.
The Deputy Minister said:
“Participating in sport has many health benefits, both physically and mentally, and swimming in particular is recognised for its all-round improvements to fitness and well-being. I am delighted that through our partnership with local government we are able to offer this support to those serving in the Armed Forces and our veterans, in recognition of their immense service to our country.”
Public Services Minister, Leighton Andrews said:
“I’m pleased to announce this extension to our Package of Support. We are providing funding to Local Authorities to help them provide free swimming for the Armed Forces and veterans. This demonstrates again, our commitment to supporting the Armed Forces Community in Wales.”
Phil Jones, Area Manager Wales, The Royal British Legion said:
“We welcome this addition to the package of support offered to the Armed Forces Community in Wales, it shows the continued commitment of both the Welsh Government and Local Authorities in Wales to the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant and Community Covenant schemes. We hope many veterans in Wales are now able to take advantage of this scheme.”
Cllr Brendan Toomey (Merthyr), WLGA Armed Forces spokesperson said:
“Local government is proud to be leading on the development and delivery of a free swimming scheme for our armed forces personnel and veterans. Local government has a proud history of offering a high level of support to those who are actively serving or are veterans of our armed forces, and every one of our 22 local councils has committed to the new scheme as a way of enhancing the growing level of support already offered to the armed forces community in Wales.
“This is a universal entitlement, and all those who are eligible will be able to access free swimming at any participating local authority pool in Wales. Swimming offers a great recreational and social activity, while also being able to play a role as a recuperative treatment for anyone returning from injury and we hope our armed forces personnel will make full use of the new scheme.”
Extending the Free Swimming Scheme to Veterans and Serving Armed Forces Personnel is a Programme for Government commitment.
Members of the Armed Forces and Veterans will be eligible for free swimming using their Defence Privilege Card, available through the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Discount Service, at participating leisure centres.
A campaign to promote the Defence Discount Service and its Privilege Card in Wales was launched by the Minister for Public Services in November 2014. Since then there has been a significant increase in the number of people signing up to the service in Wales, rising from 9,734 members when the campaign launched to 16,666 – an increase of 71%.
The Defence Discount Service provides online savings to eligible members, while those who also sign up for the Defence Privilege Card can use it in stores and in the Leisure Centres as well.
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