Swim Safe: Free Outdoor Water Safety Sessions Returns to Plas Menai

Swim Safe Campaign

Teaching children how to stay safe in the water

After the successful debut in 2016, Swim Safe will be returning to Plas Menai this summer to offer free water safety sessions for children aged 8 years and older.  

Swim Safe teaches children aged 8 years and older on how to stay safe when swimming outdoors, which is often more challenging than swimming in a pool. The programme is supported by Swim Wales and Swim England, the national governing bodies for swimming, and the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), the charity that saves lives at sea.

The free, hour-long Swim Safe sessions are run by qualified swimming teachers, RNLI lifeguards and supported by a team of trained volunteers. Practical, interactive, educational and fun, each session includes 15 minutes of land-based safety with a lifeguard and then it is into the water for practical tuition with a swimming teacher. Wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with a t-shirt are all provided. Children must be able to swim at least 25 metres to take part.

School sessions are still available between 3-7 July where pupils can join the Plas Menai Swim Safe team and learn how to stay safe when swimming outdoors this summer. But the safety sessions aren’t just reserved for schools; parents can sign up their children to the free event and help them learn vital safety skills over the summer holidays.

Schools and parents can register their interest and book their place by visiting https://swimsafe.org.uk.

Since Swim Safe started in 2013 with just one site in Bude, over 18,000 sessions have taken place across the country – last year over 7,000 children took part. Now in its fifth year, the programme continues to grow and in 2017, Swim Safe sessions will take place at 20 sites across the UK and Ireland including beaches, lakes, reservoirs and other inland locations.

Hope Filby, Swim Safe Coordinator at Plas Menai said: ‘Children love swimming outdoors; but it’s important that people learn that swimming in the sea, rivers and lakes is more challenging than swimming in a pool, where most lessons take place. We’d like to invite people to sign up and join the Swim Safe team to learn vital lifesaving skills this summer.’

Children from local schools will also get the chance to meet members of the Emergency Services and Governing Bodies in Plas Menai on 5 July. The Safety in the Outdoors Day, which is run alongside Swim Safe, will see Emergency Services and Governing Bodies join to share key lifesaving skills of how to stay safe when enjoying the outdoors and offer a variety of outdoor activities.

For more information on how to take part in Swim Safe or the Safety in the Outdoors Day on Wednesday 5 July contact Plas Menai on 0300 300 3112.

RNLI media contact

For more information contact Eleri Roberts, RNLI PR Manager on 01745 585162 / 07771 941390 or email Eleri_Roberts@rnli.org.uk.

RNLI online

For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/press

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 160 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 139,000 lives.

Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland and registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736)


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Catrin Williams from Caernarfon has become the first Menai Dragon to join the RYA’s British windsurfing squad at the age of 13 after taking up the sport through the activity club at Plas Menai, the Sport Wales National Outdoor Centre for Wales.

She joined the activity club when it was set up in 2014, and has since seen the sport grow in popularity throughout the North Wales coast.

Menai Dragon Catrin with her trophies

Menai Dragon Catrin with her trophies

Another Dragon, Elis Glyn Jones, has also become a member of the Welsh windsurfing squads, while the number of young people taking up watersports activities through the club has gone up from six to 50.

The Plas Menai Menai Dragons club has certainly shown what can be achieved in a short space of time with the right facilities and commitment from all involved.

It also reinforces what OnBoard is all about, bringing in people from non-sailing or windsurfing backgrounds, introducing them to the exciting sports and supporting them to develop into regular participants, instructors and taking their first steps on to the performance pathway.

Created by Plas Menai Community Development Officer Charlotte Falck and developed along with senior instructor Matt Beaumont, the club activities are run bilingually by a team of highly qualified, enthusiastic instructors who have developed an excellent rapport with the Dragons.

“What we have done is try to take the best our old T15 windsurfing club and combine it with the best of our OnBoard club, so people can have the opportunity to give all sports a try but then also get progression after that, if they want to,” explained Falck.

“This year we introduced the Menai Dragons squad at Plas Menai for those who wanted to develop their skills further in sailing or windsurfing. We went to the OnBoard festival and a few of the CYRC’s (Club Youth Racing Circuit) this summer. Next year we will do all the CYRC’s, the OnBoard Festival and some national events.

“When we started the Menai Dragons the intention was to provide local children with participation opportunities through a pay and play multi activity club that included sailing and windsurfing.

“Introducing the children to competition at the North Wales OnBoard Festival and the CYRC’s has allowed those who want to take the next step to do so, and the racing squad has become a great success helping to develop the individuals further.

“We entered CYRC and OnBoard events, Catrin and Elis got noticed and have gone on to be picked up by the national squads. Elis went into the North Wales squad and then Wales, while for Catrin to be picked up by GB is something quite new for Welsh windsurfing.

“That was not the intention when we set up the Menai Dragons, but the fact they have done so well shows what the race squad has become.

“As soon as Catrin went to the OnBoard festival in Bala she became very interested in competing and started doing the winter training with RYA Cymru Wales which was her way into higher things.

“We really never thought the Menai Dragons would do anything like that, so it is great to see children we have taught progressing through the sports performance pathway to the regional squads and now GB level, it is brilliant.

“Catrin is 13 so she went to her first OnBoard festival at the end of last year. Ellis is 16 and so this is his last year.

“Some of the older ones are starting to get involved in coaching, we don’t want to lose them when they turn 18 so we are trying to develop them as instructors.

“We started with around six people at the club, so to go on to win club of the year is really, really good. We have a racing squad of up to 24, but we have 36 kids who come on the Saturday and another 12 on the Sunday.”

Both Catrin and Elis have started competing at national level at events like the Eric Twiname Championships, where Williams finished in the top 10.

The success of Menai Dragons is not limited to Windsurfing. Some of the other club members have been offered places in the Regional Optimist and Topper Squads, Nathan Williams from Llanfairfechan in Conwy has gone on to buy his first Topper and trains and competes on the Topper circuit.

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Vacancy – Instructor Development Programme

Plas Menai is one of the premier Outdoor Centres in Wales. We have been training Watersports Instructors for over 30 years and provided instructors who have gone on to work within the industry all over the world and in some of the biggest UK National Governing Bodies.

We are currently recruiting keen and enthusiastic people who are looking for a career in the Outdoor Adventurous Activity sector.  This is a paid programme that also includes a personal development programme and the opportunity of gaining industry recognised qualifications.

As a member of the Trainee Instructor Development Programme your role will involve participating in a number of centre based roles.  These include assisting/ running water and shore based activity programmes, centre front of house duties (reception), acting as evening and night duty officer, keeping the centre clean and tidy and assisting in the maintenance of the centres equipment.

Full Details

To apply visit www.sportwales.org.uk/about-us/job-vacancies/our-vacancies.aspx

 We value the diversity of our workforce and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

Rhaglen Datblygu Hyfforddwyr              

Plas Menai yw un o Ganolfannau Awyr Agored gorau Cymru. Rydyn ni wedi bod yn hyfforddi Hyfforddwyr Chwaraeon Dŵr ers dros 30 o flynyddoedd ac wedi darparu hyfforddwyr sydd wedi mynd yn eu blaen i weithio yn y diwydiant ym mhob cwr o’r byd ac i rai o Gyrff Rheoli Cenedlaethol mwyaf y DU.

Ar hyn o bryd rydyn ni’n recriwtio pobl awyddus a brwd sy’n chwilio am yrfa yn y sector Gweithgareddau Antur Awyr Agored. Dyma raglen gyda chyflog sydd hefyd yn cynnwys rhaglen o ddatblygiad personol a chyfle i ennill cymwysterau a gydnabyddir gan y diwydiant.

Fel aelod o’r Rhaglen Datblygu Hyfforddwyr Dan Hyfforddiant, bydd eich gwaith yn cynnwys cymryd rhan mewn sawl rôl yn y ganolfan. Mae’r rhain yn cynnwys cynorthwyo gyda/cynnal rhaglenni gweithgareddau ar y dŵr ac ar y lan, dyletswyddau blaen tŷ yn y ganolfan (derbynfa), gweithredu fel swyddog dyletswydd gyda’r nos a thros nos, cadw’r ganolfan yn lân a thaclus a chynorthwyo gyda chynnal a chadw offer y ganolfan.

Mwy o Wybodaeth

I wneud cais ewch i www.sportwales.org.uk/about-us/job-vacancies/our-vacancies.aspx     

Rydym yn gwerthfawrogi amrywiaeth ein gweithlu ac yn croesawu ceisiadau o bob rhan o’r gymuned.

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Job Vacancy – Pool / Swyddi Gwag – Pwll

Casual Swimming Teachers/Lifeguards

The National Outdoor Centre, Plas Menai has an exciting opportunity for someone to join our team of Swimming Pool Staff.

In this role, you will ensure the Swimming Pool area is maintained to the highest standards and provide a safe and fun environment for our customers.

Lifeguards: You must be over 18 years Old, hold a current L2 National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) and have up to date IQL refresher training logged.

Swimming Teachers: ASA UKCC Level 2 Certificate in Teaching Aquatics (QCF)

To apply please send your CV to alison.yates@sport.wales  or for further information call Steven Morgan or Ali Yates on 01248 670964.

Athrawon Dysgu Nofio/Achubwyr Pwll Nofio Achlysurol

Mae gan Canolfan Awyr Agored Cenedlaethol Cymru, Plas Menai cyfle cyffrous i rhywun ymuno gyda Tim y Pwll Nofio

Yn y rôl hon, byddwch yn sicrhau bod yr ardal y Pwll Nofio yn cael ei gynnal i’r safonau uchaf ac yn darparu amgylchedd diogel a llawn hwyl ar gyfer ein cwsmeriaid.

Achubwyr Bywyd: Mae’n rhaid i chi fod dros 18 mlwydd oed, gyda chymhwyster cyfredol L2 Cenedlaethol Achubwyr Pwll (NPLQ) gyda hyfforddiant gloywi IQL mewn dyddiad sydd wedi cael ei mewngofnodi

Athrawon Nofio: Tystysgrif UKCC L2 ASA mewn dysgu nofio(QCF)

I wneud cais anfonwch eich CV I alison.yates@sport.wales neu am fwy o wybodaeth cysylltwch a Steven Morgan new Ali Yates ar 01248 67096


We value the diversity of our workforce and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

Rydym yn gwerthfawrogi amrywiaeth yn ein gweithlu a croesewir ceisiadau o bob rhan o’r gymunedBottom of Form

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Mother whose teenage son drowned swimming in river supports Swim Safe scheme

A mother whose son drowned while swimming in a North Wales river is backing an outdoor swim safety scheme teaching hundreds of children how to stay safe in the open water.

Debbie Turnbull’s son Christopher drowned after he was trapped underwater swimming in the Pont Cyfyng Falls, near Capel Curig, Gwynedd, in August 2006. He was 15 years old.

Now Debbie, who has been a tireless water safety education campaigner since Christopher’s tragic death, is advocating Swim Safe, a free programme of outdoor swimming and water safety sessions for children which came to Wales for the first time this week.

The Swim Safe sessions, which are delivered in partnership between the ASA (Amateur Swimming Association), Swim Wales and the RNLI charity (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), kicked off at Plas Menai National Outdoor Centre near Caernarfon on Monday (11 July). The first four days are for school groups, before three days of sessions for the general public from Friday until Sunday. Practical, interactive, educational and fun, each session includes a land-based safety lesson with a lifeguard and in-water tuition with a swimming teacher, with wetsuits, swimming hats and a free goody bag with t-shirt all provided.

Debbie, who is approaching the 10th anniversary of her son’s death next month, said: ‘Christopher lost his life swimming in a spot he had been to many times before and knew well and he was a strong swimmer. You can be a really confident pool swimmer but swimming in open water brings its own challenges. So, it’s really important that both children and parents know the dangers of open water swimming and how to stay safe.’

Swim Safe sessions are for children aged between seven and 14 and hundreds of children have already signed up and will be taking part in Swim Safe at Plas Menai this week.

Debbie, originally from Llandudno but now living in Holywell, Flintshire, added: ‘I am 100% behind the Swim Safe programme as it’s great to see the RNLI, the ASA and Swim Wales all pulling together to increase education about water safety for children.

‘So many children are learning skills to help keep them safe in the open water and judging on today’s evidence it looks like they’re having great fun at the same time.’

Hope Filby, Swim Safe Coordinator at Plas Menai, said: ‘There are all sorts of environmental factors to consider when you’re swimming outdoors and it’s important that children know how to call for help if they get into trouble.

‘It is great to be the first place in Wales to run the Swim Safe scheme and we’re delighted so many children are here learning vital safety tips and techniques for swimming in the open water in time for the summer holidays.’

Today (Wednesday 13 July) Plas Menai also plays host to the Safety Outdoors Day, where a range of emergency services and other agencies will be showing off their work and equipment.

Children will get to take part in mountain biking sessions with Cycling Wales and get to see the RNLI and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s Flood Rescue Teams in action on the water.

Swim Wales, Mountain Rescue England and Wales and the Outdoor Partnership will also be on hand with demonstrations and advice on how to stay safe in the outdoors this summer.

Some places are still available for Friday’s Swim Safe sessions. Parents can book their children on now at www.Swimming.org/SwimSafe

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