Swim grant for six schools

Learning to swim . . . Port Chalmers School children (from left) Daisy Olsen (5), Monty Olsen (7), Emily Mears (5), and Eli Olsen (8), head in to swim at Port Chalmers Pool, carrying swim bags donated by Port Otago. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A new generation of young swimmers in West Harbour is taking to the water this summer with the support of Port Otago.

After sponsoring swimming lessons for junior classes at Port Chalmers School last year, Port Otago has expanded its support this year to cover lessons for children at six West Harbour schools.

These include all of Port Chalmers School, Sawyers Bay School, St Leonards School, Dunedin Rudolf Steiner School, St Joseph’s School, and Ravensbourne School – about 400 pupils in total.

The Port Otago sponsorship, which includes lesson fees and a colourful new swim bag for each child, is valued at about $25,000 for the year.

Port Chalmers School principal Vicki Nicolson said the support from Port Otago for its local schools was “fantastic”.

“From our point of view, we are 10 steps from the harbour, and we want our children to enjoy their environment and to be safe.

“So this support is very welcome indeed,” Mrs Nicolson said.

West Harbour school children were lucky to have the Dunedin City Council-run Port Chalmers Pool right on their doorstep to enjoy.

“It is a nice pool, and is literally a two-minute walk away from our school,” she said.

The financial support from Port Otago was doubly welcome, as it freed up funds that would otherwise be spent on swimming lessons.

“We can use those funds for other things, so we are very grateful for their support, ” she said.

Port Otago chief executive Kevin Winders said Port Otago already sponsored a range of watersports for teens, from rowing to sailing.

“We live in a harbour community, surrounded by water, so it’s important we encourage young children to learn how to swim,Winders said.