A commitment to practical social welfare by a local church means less children are in danger of drowning in Ballarat.
The Brown Hill Community Pool has been running free swimming lessons with costs covered by the Brown Hill Uniting Church for a number of years.
The program usually costs $30 for parents, but was paid for by the Brown Hill Uniting Church as part of a number of commitments to social welfare.
Brown Hill Progress Association member Brendan Stevens said 60 to 70 children have taken part in the VICSWIM lessons this year.
“VICSWIM have been fantastic. They use local swim teachers and just take the pressure off the association in having to organise everything and run the course.”
Brown Hill Uniting Church and BHPA member Liz Mason says the swimming lessons are part of a wider series of social welfare initiatives that the church commits itself to.
“The church provides $2,000 a year to pay for the swimming lessons, and we’ve done that for four or five years,” said Ms Mason.
The church also provides a breakfast club at Caledonian Primary School, as well as providing encouragement and leadership awards at the school.
“We had a legacy left to the church by a former member, and we’ve invested that to provide these services for the community. We also run a ‘Kids Club’ at Caledonian once a term for about three or four weeks, helping parents by giving children somewhere to get together after classes.”
The Brown Hill swimming pool was the subject of a community campaign to secure its future in the face of proposed closure a decade ago. It is managed by volunteers through the Brown Hill Progress Association.
Mr Stevens says the pool has been well patronised in the hot summer this year.
“Last year was a bit quiet because it was cool, but this year has been great. We’ve got some young families moved into Brown Hill and they’re showing real interest in helping run the pool. We have a lady running ‘Water Zumba’ classes – last Monday we had 67 people dancing around in the class at the pool.”
Mr Stevens hopes the community will turn out for the Australia Day Party at the pool next Tuesday. There will be a free BBQ, games for the children and entrance prizes, said Mr Stevens.
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