It’s safety first for over 100 Narromine children who have learned to swim over the summer thanks to the Narromine Local Aboriginal Land Council and the Australian Rail Track Corporation.
Narromine Local Aboriginal Land Council (NLALC) chief executive officer Shelly Bayliss said the program was a “huge success” and has provided a number of children a new life skill.
The NLALC partnered with its board members, the Narromine Swim Club, the Royal Life Saving and community volunteers to create a children’s swimming safety program at the Narromine Aquatic Centre.
Ms Bayliss said the program was delivered over 10 days and focused on building water confidence and stroke correction, she also said it helped create a social support network to ensure families of the Aboriginal community have the opportunities to learn a life skill and improve physical and mental wellbeing.
“The program was created to provide a life skill that is currently not affordable and create safety awareness around water,” Ms Bayliss said.
“We see most of our children swimming in the river due to the high cost of pool entry and large families not being able to afford for all the children to go to the pool together.”
“We have seen an increase in younger siblings following their brothers, sisters and cousins to the river. This is potentially dangerous as they have little water awareness and no swimming skills.”
The program however was made possible through the support from the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), who helped fund the program.
“The NLALC doesn't have funding for these programs and relies on volunteers and stakeholder groups to support activities the help strengthen community involvement,” Ms Bayliss said.
“The ARTC Inland Rail project have met with the NLALC board and members on numerous occasions, It was Danka Jankovic (ARTC community engagement officer) who admired my passion for my community and expressed a interest in supporting the program.”
Inland Rail NSW Stakeholder Engagement Manager Helena Orel said ARTC, which is delivering the Inland Rail project on behalf of the Australian Government, welcomed the opportunity to help local kids.
“Safety is at the core of what we do at ARTC and it makes sense for us to support the safety of young people in Narromine through the NLALC,” Ms Orel said.
“Inland Rail will have a positive legacy in this region, and programmes like this is just another way that the community will see the benefits of the programme.
“Our contribution not only assisted with resources for the NLALC Learn to Swim program, but we are also pleased that all the kids in the course have been issued family season passes so they can continue to practice their skills now that the program is completed,” she said.
Ms Bayliss said the Learn to Swim Program was a huge success and is thankful for the support of ARTC.
“I believe that the youth are our future and we appreciate any support to give them every chance to choose a better life,” Ms Bayliss said.
“Learning to swim is a skill that many take for granted, I wanted to give these kids the confidence and self empowerment that will grow with them.”
“It has been wonderful seeing the families practising and playing together, utilising the family passes.”
“We say a huge thank you to the ARTC from the bottom of these little Koori hearts for making this possible.”