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Kids cool off for free this summer

By Emily Norman

[email protected]

Kids in South Wairarapa will be able to cool off for free this summer thanks to a new initiative spawned from the community.

The free swimming programme will be open to all South Wairarapa kids on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between January 2 and February 6, with registrations open now.

The idea was sparked by a conversation a few months ago between Featherston youth group leader, Alan Maxwell, and Featherston Community Board deputy chairman Mark Sheppard.

The two had talked about youth and youth needs over summer and saw an opportunity to provide easier access to Featherston’s swimming pool “for families that may not have been able to afford swims”.

“Alan started it all off through The Way, Wairarapa Anglican Youth, and when he spoke to me about it, I thought it was a great idea.

“Not only does it help those families who can’t afford to give their kids a swim, but it also gives the kids something to do.

“Anything we can do with our youth is definitely positive.”

The talking didn’t stop there, and soon enough they had the backing of the South Wairarapa District Council and other community boards in the district.

SWDC Mayor, Viv Napier said she was pleased to see the three community boards “working together on this exciting initiative”.

“The idea put forward by Alan Maxwell, was offered to the other Community Boards, who in a few short days gathered sponsorship to make this project fly,” Mrs Napier said.

Greytown Community Board Chair, Leigh Hay said the board were pleased to support the initiative, using the Greytown Memorial pool.

“This will help young people in our community to take advantage of all the health benefits of swimming and improve their awareness of water safety,” she said.

“At a time when many families struggle after Christmas it is great to make the pool affordable for families in Greytown.”

South Wairarapa libraries are taking the registrations and issuing special tickets, checking that the child lives within the South Wairarapa district.

There are a limited number of registrations for each town.

Featherston is being sponsored by Featherston’s Own Charitable Trust and supported by Featherston Community Board and the Wairarapa Whanau Trust.

Greytown is being sponsored by Greytown Community Board, South Wairarapa Rotary, the Greytown Trust Lands Trust, Greytown Sport and Leisure Society and Papawai Marae, and supported by Greytown Community Board.

Martinborough is being sponsored by the Martinborough Community Board.

While Masterton’s pool at the Genesis Recreation Centre usually runs a free programme for kids, but that will not be running this year.

Entry to the Carterton pool is free.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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