CHILDREN with disabilities in Cumnock and Doon Valley are being given vital life skills through new swimming lessons.

Scottish Swimming has launched its See My Ability campaign in East Ayrshire to get parents to talk more openly about their child’s disability and encourage them to put their children into mainstream swimming classes.

The Learn to Swim project will provide a progressive pathway for children with physical, sensory and learning impairments.

The programme is delivered by aquatic providers across Scotland and locally by East Ayrshire Leisure.

The Inclusion campaign was launched by Learn to Swim ambassador and multimedal winning para-athlete Toni Shaw who came through a mainstream Learn to Swim programme before joining swimming club Cults Otters.

Paul Wilson, Disability Performance Development Manager, Scottish Swimming said: “Scottish Swimming’s vision is ‘everyone can swim’ and learning to swim is an activity for all regardless of ability or disability, and the whole swimming pathway can be taught in an inclusive way.

“Swimming is an important life skill and can be great fun in a group environment. This should be no different for a child with a disability.”

Brian Lironi, Director of Corporate Affairs, Scottish Water, said: “Children with disabilities should have the same opportunities in their lessons, as swimming can offer so much and is an important life skill.

“As we aim to roll the Learn to Swim programme out to 100,000 children across Scotland, we’re making sure that we’re offering inclusive opportunities for all children to become safe and competent in and around water.”

As part of the campaign, swimming teachers and coaches will be provided with a resource toolkit that will help them teach and coach in an inclusive way throughout the whole aquatic pathway from Learn to Swim through to clubs and at the performance level.

Greig Russell, Team Leader at East Ayrshire Leisure, said: “We teach all children in an inclusive way at East Ayrshire Leisure and it is great to get these additional resources to support our swimming teachers as we continue to grow our programme.”

East Ayrshire Leisure deliver s the Learn to Swim programme at 3 pools in the council area, teaching children from birth upwards.