YOUNGSTERS in York have been learning the importance of being able to swim as part of Drowning Prevention Week.

Hundreds of pupils took part in activities to raise their awareness of water safety funded by a trust administered by City of York Council.

Cllr Sonja Crisp, City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, said: “Edmund Wilson Trust Fund has been running for 50 years and this year, was able to award a £500 grant to Energise to run a drawing competition around water safety and hold water safety sessions. With 400 accidental deaths a year caused by drowning in the UK, I’m delighted that this partner work between our leisure centres, schools and the Ebor Lifesaving Club is working to generate lasting awareness of water safety.”

Key Stage 1 pupils took part in a colouring competition and Key Stage 2 pupils designed posters. The winners from each year group won a free 12-week course of swimming lessons at Energise or Yearsley Pool, paid for by the Edmund Wilson Trust Fund.

During Drowning Prevention Week, all primary schools that regularly use the council’s two pools were also given water safety lessons by Energise and Yearsley swimming teachers and as part of the education sticker and water safety leaflet given to each participant.

The regular Swim York lessons delivered in the council’s two pools now include a water safety game to help get the safety message across.

Ebor Lifesaving Club also held an open evening at Energise for anyone interested in joining the club and seeing what members do, the club teaches lifesaving to swimmers from eight-years-old following Royal Lifesaving Society awards and initiatives. The evening is open to all to come along, so bring swimming kit and join in with the activities.