A frustrated mum has called for more family-friendly swimming sessions to be available in Aberdeen.
Samantha Kingsbury has struggled to find suitable sessions for her children since lockdown ended – resulting in her daughter’s progress stalling, and her youngest being terrified of the water during a recent getaway.
She finally found family sessions at Tullos during the week she could take two-year-old Fergus to, but now they have been cancelled.
Ms Kinsbury said the sessions had been perfect as she could focus on Fergus while her other two children Meredith, six, and William, five, were at school – but now Sport Aberdeen offer none during the week.
Weekend sessions are already very busy, and Ms Kinsbury needs her partner’s help to take all three children.
They recently went to an hour-long Sunday session and despite arriving 10 minutes early, the family were queuing so long they missed 20 minutes in the water – while other families were turned away.
“I was really angry and upset, to be honest,” she said.
Now facing trips to Aberdeenshire pools, the frustrated mum is calling on Sport Aberdeen to revise its timetable to ensure youngsters can learn the life-saving skill.
‘We’ve got all these pools but no resources to take our kids swimming’
Before the pandemic, the family would go swimming nearly every weekend together.
She added: “Obviously, coming into the pandemic everything closed and then they opened again and it was very much with limited numbers which I appreciate we are edging on the side of caution with Covid and I completely agree with that.
“But if you have pubs and clubs open and TRNSMT, which had 50,000 people, I don’t understand why they’re still limiting the numbers inside the pools and edging on the side of caution. Why not just open sessions up again and more of them?”
The mum said daughter Meredith had been going to swimming lessons through Sport Aberdeen, which were stopped for a year because of the pandemic. This means she hasn’t been able to progress with swimming and is still in level one.
Meanwhile, her middle child William is waiting for a space to open up for swimming lessons because of the delay in children moving up a level.
She said: “We’re in this massive city and we’ve got all these pools, but we don’t have any resources to take our kids swimming. My main priority is to make sure my kids are safe in the water and that they enjoy it.”
Sport Aberdeen revising timetable to meet ‘high demand’ for swimming sessions
While other parents have suggested travelling further afield for swimming, to Altens or Westhill, Ms Kinsbury has questioned why more sessions can’t be made available in the city.
Ms Kinsgbury commented: “It’s such a shame. Why am I needing to go into Aberdeenshire when I should have facilities in my city?”
David Selkirk, director of community leisure operations for Sport Aberdeen, said the timetable is under review due to the “high demand” for public swim sessions – and that work is ongoing to reopen Get Active at Lochside.
He explained that the public sessions at Tullos had only been in place until the primary four lessons that Sport Aberdeen deliver on behalf of Aberdeen City Council resumed.
Mr Selkirk said: “While we do offer various citywide public swim sessions throughout the week and family swim sessions at weekends, we recognise that demand for public swimming is high and we are currently reviewing our timetables to find any additional opportunities to increase capacities and extend some of our sessions.
“We are working to the very best of our ability under the strained circumstances and have made changes where possible to accommodate as many swimmers as physically possible.”
Any revisions will go live on Sport Aberdeen’s timetable after the October holidays.