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Seventy-six Year 2 students at Cabramatta Public School were able to learn swimming and water safety skills thanks to a grant from Cabra-Vale Diggers Club.

The children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds took part in a 10 week Royal Life Saving Swim and Survive Program at Cabravale Leisure Centre. These were the first formal lessons for the majority of students.

Terrisha Ashby, Teacher at Cabramatta Public School said the Swim and Survive program has made a huge impact on the students. “Every week, students are extremely excited and are always looking forward to [their lessons on] Wednesday's! Student's have been so engaged and are even utilising their new swimming terminology in their own writing in the classroom. This program has greatly impacted and benefited students at Cabramatta Public School! We hope to have the opportunity to participate in the program next year! Thank you,” said Mrs Ashby. When asked about the program, one student said, "Learning these new skills helps us because if we were to be in trouble in the deep end we would know how to save ourselves". Kimberley Noffs, Health Promotion Manager, Royal Life Saving NSW said that funding is vital to help run programs like this. “The significant contribution from Cabra-Vale Diggers has enabled children at Cabramatta Public School to learn a skill for life. Thank you so much for your support of Royal Life Saving NSW. We are proud to be part of such a worthwhile initiative and we express thanks to all partners involved,” said Ms Noffs.

Australia is a nation of water lovers with many residents and tourists regularly visiting our beautiful aquatic environments; including trips to the local pool, river, lake and coastline to undertake a range of recreational activities. Exposure to our aquatic environments, however, comes with certain risks and responsibilities. The Royal Life Saving National Drowning Report revealed that 37 children under the age of 10 died due to drowning in Australian waterways last year. For every child that loses their life to drowning, a further 8 are admitted to hospital for non-fatal drowning which can result in permanent brain damage. Goal one of the Australian Water Safety Strategy is to reduce drowning deaths of children aged 0-14 years. Supporting swimming and water safety education initiatives is one action that Royal Life Saving is taking to reduce these preventable tragedies.

Royal Life Saving NSW in partnership with Cabravale Leisure Centre, Cabra-Vale Diggers Club and Cabramatta Public School are ramping up efforts to enhance the water safety knowledge and skills of our most vulnerable community members to teach valuable skills for life. Additional funding provided will support year 3 students through the program next term.

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