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Swimming and Water Safety Programs Aids Migrants in Northern NSW

16 refugees and migrants living in Armidale in northern NSW are currently receiving swimming lessons at the TAS Swim School to provide them with foundation swimming and water safety skills.

The aim of the program is to build confidence in and around water, as well as develop water skills in an aquatic environment.

Latest data* shows 27% of all drowning deaths over the past 10 years involved people born overseas, with the highest number occurring in NSW. Lack of swimming skills was identified as one of the key factors in many of these cases.

A large proportion of these drowning deaths occurred at unpatrolled locations, such as beaches (28%) and rocks (22%), where lifeguards and lifesavers are not always present, so it is vital that people have the skills and knowledge to recreate safely around water.

Jason Phillips, Royal Life Saving NSW, Regional Manager, commented “reaching culturally diverse communities with strategies to address drowning prevention and water safety is often difficult as these groups are far less likely to access traditional programs.

“Participation rates in aquatic education programs are much lower among culturally diverse backgrounds and strategies to address this through community development should be encouraged. This can be beneficial both for achieving a reduction in drowning and in promoting greater social cohesion across Australian communities.”

The program is funded by the Swim and Survive Fund, which is a swimming and water safety initiative of the Royal Life Saving Society - Australia, supported by the Australian Government.

The program which consists of weekly one-hour lessons is being delivered by Harwood Swimming from 1st June to 29th June at the TAS Swim School (pictured) in Armidale.

Click here for more information.

*Data published in the 10-year National Study of Overseas Born Drowning Report 2018.

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