A VILLAGE school can splash out on swimming lessons with a £1,000 donation.
The grant has been awarded to Grange View First School in Widdrington Station, courtesy of the parish council.
It will go towards the £6,700 costs of swimming lessons and coach-hire fees for pupils aged seven to nine.
Parish Chairman Joe Sennett, who initially suggested awarding the full costs, said: “We are surrounded by water. We are surrounded by lakes, ponds, burns and rivers, you name it we have got it and for our little muck magnets it is hypnotic.
“I’m not saying we will end up with Olympic swimmers, we could possibly, but there are kids who have never been near water and are frightened of it and they end up with merit badges.
“I’m utterly in favour.”
However, members Shelly Willoughby and Jacek Juszczyk said they had discussions with the Friends of Grange View First School and there was no expectation that the full cost of the scheme would be met by the parish.
Provision is made in school budgets for the lessons, but extra funding is sought to enable some of the budgeted money to be redirected to other activities.
Parents are also asked for a contribution towards the swimming costs, but it is voluntary.
Coun Juszczyk said: “If parents want to contribute they contribute and if they don’t want to contribute they don’t, however the children still go swimming.”
Coun Sennett proposed a grant of £2,000 and Coun Juszczyk proposed an award of £500, which attracted two votes, however the majority voted for Coun Anderson Crowe’s proposal of a £1,000 grant, which secured four votes.