A Sunderland swim school is urging North-East families to invest in swimming lessons for youngsters to help save lives over the summer.

This month saw Drowning Prevention Week in the UK and Sunderland’s award-winning ‘in at the deep end’ swim school has launched a campaign to raise awareness and help increase the number of children who can swim in the region.

The summer months see more children and young people swimming off the North-East coast, but with accidental drownings on the rise and a lack of basic swimming skills becoming a growing problem after the pandemic, it is more important than ever that families invest in lessons.

“Simply put swimming is a life skill,” says IATDE co-founder Mark McNichol. “Apart from the physical and mental health benefits it also can save your life – and given that as a region we are surrounded by water with both the North Sea and major rivers in the area, this is so important.”

Mark, of South Tyneside, has been a qualified swimming instructor for more than 20 years and is passionate about providing fun, flexible, and affordable lessons to swimmers across Sunderland. He co-founded IATDE just over 12 years ago and it is the only Autism Swim Approved Centre in the North-East.

Swimming has a huge number of positive benefits for body and mind. However, every year over 400 people die from drowning in the UK. Last year, the number of deaths increased across the UK with multiple drownings occurring on the same day. Accidental Drownings have also started to increase year on year with 277 in 2021 compared to 223 in 2019.

One of the main reasons for this is a lack of swimming skills in children and young people. This has been exasperated by the pandemic and during lockdowns when many swimming schools were forced to temporarily close. Currently 1 in 3 children do not know how to swim and 1 in 5 have no basic swimming skills at all. In addition, two thirds of children do not access swimming lessons.

IATDE has become nationally and internationally recognised for its high standards, outstanding safety, extensive staff training, flexibility, and affordability. The school holds the Swimming Teachers Association (STA) STAMark award – the definitive health and safety qualification for the industry – and was recently named in the national STA return to swimming guidance document. From swimming lessons for children, aqua natal classes, and birthday pool parties, to lifeguard training, first aid courses, and autism friendly sessions, ‘in at the deep end’ offers more than 60 classes and courses for all ages and abilities at Castle View Community and Fitness Centre and Thornhill Academy. The swim school also recently launched a corporate sponsorship scheme in 2022 to encourage business to help sponsor lessons for less fortunate families.

To find out more information about IATDE, or to book a swim session, go to: www.inatthedeepend.com