Children will be allowed to swim for free after school at the National Sports Centre this winter.

The government has said it is to help families with the cost of living.

This five-month scheme will get underway on Monday, October 31 and means that school children will not be charged to swim on weekdays, between 4.30pm and 7pm.

During this time children will have full access to the leisure pool and other pools when planned classes or lessons permit.

It will also be free for one parent or guardian to accompany a primary school child to encourage participation, and children aged eight or over can swim unaccompanied.

Minister for Education, Sport and Culture Julie Edge said: ‘This move will give children access to a warm and welcoming space after school, where they can exercise, socialise and get a hot shower, while lessening the burden of home energy costs for their families.

‘This access will help any young people who have fallen behind with swimming, which is a trend since the pandemic, or just want to build their water confidence.’

The scheme, which is part of the government’s Warm Spaces Initiative, will run until March 31, 2023.

Children and their parents will still need to pay to swim at weekends and in school holiday. Swimming lessons also aren’t included.

Meanwhile, the centre’s flumes have now both been fully reopened.

One of the slides, which underwent repairs extensive repairs last week, has now been fixed after facing long-standing issues which closed it since the start of the year.