Wednesday, July 6, 2022

‘First Lap’ swimming program extended to kindergarten kids

The NSW Government’s new learn to swim voucher program will be expanded from preschool-aged children to include kindergarten kids who missed out on lessons due to COVID restrictions.

Under the ‘First Lap’ program, eligible children can access a $100 voucher for swimming lessons with an approved provider, with businesses able to register for it from next month.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the program, which starts on December 1, would be extended to cover children in kindergarten this year, or who are starting kindergarten in 2022.

“Because of COVID restrictions, our kindy kids have missed a crucial window of being able to develop the skills they need to stay safe in the water,” Mr Perrottet said.

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“It’s really important they don’t miss out, so we’re making sure they can also access the First Lap voucher program now that our pools are back open for lessons.”

Minister for Sport Natalie Ward said the NSW Government will invest $54 million over two years in the program, which will also ease cost of living pressures for families.

“Summer in Australia is all about swimming, at your local pool, beach or river. We know families have been doing it tough during the COVID lockdown and the First Lap program will also ensure family budgets aren’t stretched so our kids have these crucial skills,” Mrs Ward said.

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Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello said the program was one of more than 70 NSW Government savings helping to ease cost-of-living pressures for households, including the Active Kids and Creative Kids programs.

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“This is in addition to a host of other savings including energy rebates, free car registration and lower green slip costs,” Mr Dominello said.

Active Kids vouchers can be used by school-enrolled children, including those in kindergarten,  for sport and recreation activities such as swimming lessons. Families can apply for the First Lap vouchers from 1 December, through Service NSW.

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