Children as young as eight are learning vital skills at a Swindon leisure centre that could one day save someone’s life.
The Rookie Lifeguard course is a fun and educational programme that offers children the chance to learn life saving skills in a fun environment.
The scheme, which has been developed by the Royal Lifesaving Society UK, is based at the Swindon Borough Council-run Link Centre in West Swindon and is run by qualified instructors.
The aim of the programme is to teach lifesaving skills, increase swimming competence, develop survival skills in the water and develop confidence, teamwork and leadership.
There are three stages in the programme, bronze, silver and gold and each stage is subdivided up into three levels.
To enroll pupils must be able to swim confidently, not only in swim wear, but in shorts and t-shirts and sometimes extra clothing.
Children have to learn the basic swimming strokes including side stroke and the lifesaving backstroke and must know how to recognise different casualties including, weak, injured and unconscious swimmers and how to instruct them back to the side.
They must also be able to dive feet or head first to the bottom of the pool to pick up mannequins and in the final gold stages timed swims and emergency situations with conscious and unconscious casualties are carried out.
Course instructor Carol Affleck said: “The rookie lifeguards have worked really hard for the duration of the course. If they ever find themselves in an emergency situation then they have the basic emergency skills and knowledge to help save a life, or to call the emergency services for assistance.
“This would not have been possible without the parents’ time and support during the course. We have other rookies still on the course who are in the process of completing their bronze and silver awards.”
To find out more about the Rookie Lifeguard course call the Link Centre on 01793 445566.
Pictured with Carol Affleck, some of the rookie lifesavers – Ashford Yalden, Luke Willis, Matthew Bean, Sufia Ruhomaun, Samuel King, Lauren Grainger-William and George Hickey