Swimming vouchers explained!
Lockdowns have been proven to have an unforeseen dangerous consequence – there has been a 108% increase in fatal drownings in Australian children aged 0-4 since the beginning of restrictions, and a 56% increase in the 5-14 years age group. Let’s look at the vouchers that can get your child back in the pool.
The First Lap voucher program provides $100 vouchers for parents, guardians and carers of NSW children aged 3-6 years towards the cost of swimming lessons. This will include children who have not yet started school, are in kindergarten in 2021 or are starting kindergarten in 2022. First Lap vouchers are in addition to the 2 x $100 Active Kids Vouchers provided to school aged children each year – however First Lap Vouchers can only be used for swimming lessons and are redeemed differently to Active Kids Vouchers.
Redemption of First Lap vouchers is similar to the “Dine and Discover’ vouchers provided by Service NSW. Once your application has been approved you will be able to print a First Lap voucher from Service NSW, which can then be redeemed at your local Swim School (as long as they are an approved First Lap provider). Alternatively, your Swim School may have a device to redeem the voucher directly from your mobile phone, just like using a Dine and Discover voucher at a restaurant or venue.
Whilst we absolutely applaud the introduction of the First Lap program, we would love to see the program extended or mirrored for children aged six months to 3 years to assist all parents to get children of all ages into, or back into, lessons. Drowning remains the number one cause of death in children under five, and learning to swim is an imperative line of defence against drowning.
Active Kids Vouchers are slightly different. Every NSW child 4.5 – 18 years old who has a current Medicare card and is enrolled in school from Kindergarten to Year 12 is eligible for two $100 Active Kids Vouchers per year. Both must be redeemed by December 31st for the credit to be added to account. Vouchers can be printed and redeemed over the counter at our swim centres, or emailed to us. Active Kids vouchers can be used for any sport, not only swimming, however we strongly recommend that learn to swim is prioritised against the backdrop of so many missed swimming lessons over the past 18 months.
Creative Kids Vouchers cannot be used for swimming lessons, however they can be used for our Swim Camps, which incorporate creative activities and swim safety education in the school holidays. See our website for details, and feel free to reach out of you any questions regarding redeeming your vouchers for life saving swimming lessons.