Free swimming in Wales for the Armed Forces
On Armed Forces Day, the Welsh Government has announced the continuation of the Armed Forces Free Swimming scheme.
The scheme enables serving members of the Armed Forces and Veterans to swim for free at participating leisure centres and pools, using their Defence Privilege Card.
The Armed Forces Free Swimming Scheme (AFFS) was first introduced in 2016 and represents the continued commitment to provide the Armed Forces community with access to services which meet their specific needs and recognise the service they have given to their country.
Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said:
“I’m very pleased that we are able to continue to support this scheme which is designed to ensure members of the Armed Forces past and present are able to benefit from the physical, and mental, health benefits swimming can offer."
Deputy Minister for Social Partnerships, Hannah Blythyn, said:
“We are committed to supporting our Armed Forces personnel and recognise how initiatives like this can boost their mental and physical wellbeing. I hope they can enjoy the benefits from this scheme over the next three years.”
Chris Llewelyn, WLGA Chief Executive said:
“Local government is proud to deliver free swimming for our Armed Forces personnel and Veterans. We hope that even more people take part in the scheme in the coming year, taking advantage of the significant recuperative and social benefits physical activity offers. There are participating pools in each of Wales’ local authorities; to find out where your closet facility is, visit your local authority website.”
Throughout the 2021-22 financial year the scheme was taken up on average each quarter by 569 serving military personnel and veterans across Wales. The trend shows an increase in uptake as restrictions have been lifted, with the last quarter recording a peak of 879 people benefitting from 2641 visits to their local community swimming pools.
To support the scheme, £45,000 to be issued every year over a three-year period; in 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25.
Notes to editors
- This scheme is being provided only to Veterans and members of the Armed Forces who reside in Wales.
- On their first visit to access their free swim, all eligible Armed Forces personnel and Veterans will be required to produce their Defence Privilege Card and where necessary, to complete an application form for a ‘leisure card’ which is commonly used by the leisure centre to control, monitor and record usage of the facility.