Royal Life Saving NSW and Department of Education ‘Summer Skills’ funding successfully coordinated Lifeguard and Swim Teacher training programs in Far West NSW communities.
Due to distance and low/transient populations, gaining access to swimming lessons has remained challenging for some Far West communities for years. Maintaining staff to deliver swimming lessons and operate pools has been an increasingly challenging obstacle.
Early October, in anticipation of COVID restrictions lifting, and the announcement of First Lap vouchers from the Office of Sport, The Far Western Regional Office of Sport called for an expression of interest to its 500 sport, agency and community contacts on where or whether the training should proceed.
By early November, two full-day training events wrapped up in Wilcannia, with over 80 people submitting applications. Royal Life Saving Western Regional Manager, Alison Middleton, conducted part of the training and was heartened by the response from the local communities.
“We had locals from Broken Hill and Wentworth in the Far Southwest, Cobar in the east, whilst 32 people had enrolled in either Swim Teacher training and or Lifeguard training from Walgett LGA in the Far Northwest” said Mrs. Middleton.
“It was fantastic to see many participants were the younger generation, and a quarter came from Indigenous communities.”
Successful training courses also took place in Cobar, Bourke, Walgett and Broken Hill LGAs, just in time for the Summer rush of community members flocking to their local pool and enjoying the water safely.
New training courses are now available, starting from January 2022 – TRAINING | Royal Life Saving (drowningprevention.org.au)