Two pop-up swimming pools are set to begin touring Ireland – setting up in a new community every 12 weeks.
The project aims to bring swimming and water safety lessons to communities around the country – especially those located in towns without swimming facilities.
The first pool is currently parked up outside the Donabate Portrane Community Centre and is due to head to Sligo and Wicklow in coming months.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning the Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers described the facility.
“Basically, it is an above-ground steel structure, 12 metres long, 3.5 metres wide and 1.5 metres deep,” he said.
“It is heated to 30C and it is covered in a hard sided marquee so it is not open to the elements. It is also fully accessible with a ramp and a hoist. It has changing facilities and holds 45,000 litres of water.”
He said the project is “about bringing a pool in to the heart of a community and integrating it with our education system.”
“Many people across most schools in the country would not be close to any swimming pool in their local areas but water safety is really important,” he said.
“We have 6,000km of coastline and we know, unfortunately, we have many drownings – around 115 last year for example. So, it is important that we deliver water safety into communities and this is a new pilot to try and advance that.
“To deliver a pool into the heart of a community and offer an opportunity for swimming lessons and water safety in communities that might be too far from a swimming pool or where an existing pool is at capacity.”
He said bringing a portable pool into the centre of a community is far more cost-effective than transporting children from school to a pool every week.
“This is a new and innovative solution that has been trialled in the UK very successfully and that’s why we’re piloting it here,” he said.
“There are two pools being purchased and they will rotate every 12 weeks into different communities. There are opportunities obviously for many young people to learn how to swim and also there will be a bit of community access for groups.
“We want to make sure we have active participation for people of all ages. That is why you’ll have water aerobics, you’ll have community groups and you’ll have the pool intensively used throughout the whole day.”