We've just granted half a million dollars towards swimming pools at schools as part of our School Pools Partnership Fund.
Wellington City Council Grants Chair, Councillor Stephanie Cook, says despite times being tight, Councillors decided to establish the two-million-dollar fund in 2010.
"We felt that something had to be done to help out - especially when it comes to learn-to-swim programmes. We talked with a lot with schools in the area, swimming groups, and also with our own staff who manage Council pools.
"The situation is - our pools are only just coping with all the children and adults that want to learn to swim or improve their swimming - not to mention all the water-sports groups. This fund is to help alleviate the problem," says Cr Cook.
While the aim of the fund is to help schools with teaching their pupils to swim, a condition of these grants is that schools provide a service for other nearby schools, water sports and surf lifesaving organisations and the wider community.
"All recipients so far have demonstrated they have already done a lot of work on this as part of their application. So we're pleased that they'll fulfill a service for their area."
The Swimming Trust of Wellington received $450,000 for a 25m pool with a 12m learning pool for Wellington East Girls School in Mount Victoria.
"With at least five other schools in the area within a 15-minute walk, we felt this was a great fit for the grant," says Cr Cook.
This project - championed by Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gary Hurring - will enable 4,500 schoolchildren to access a heated indoor pool during school hours at no cost to the schools involved.
Gary says it's been three years of meetings, research and hard work developing their plans for the pool.
"School pools have been vanishing at an alarming rate in the city over recent years and Wellington City Council has decided to do something about it. I have to applaud their foresight in seeing a need to reverse the trend."
The Chairman of the Swimming Trust, Steve Hind, says they are excited to transform an unheated, outdoor pool "in dire need of repair" into something that will improved the livelihoods of thousands of schoolchildren in the area.
"It offers a real chance to address key issues that many NGOs have identified as important in children's education. We are really excited that the culmination of several years' hard work will now become a reality," says Steve.
Work on the pool will start next year. It's expected the pool at Wellington East Girls School will be complete in 2013.
Berhampore School also received $50,000 to go towards enclosing their pool so it can be used all year round.
For more information on grants, phone our grants advisor on (04) 499 4444 or see: