Scholarship to help water safety lessons bear fruit

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

A $9500 scholarship has been awarded for research in the Pilbara to improve water safety awareness and the popular Swim for Fruit program.

Royal Life Saving Society WA’s Jessica Cruickshank was awarded the Dr Heather MacGowan OAM Scholarship last week for her proposal to research the popular swim program being rolled out in the Pilbara.

The Swim for Fruit program is delivered by RLSSWA in seven pools in the Pilbara region, including a number of remote Aboriginal communities.

It aims to encourage children aged five to 17 to participate in regular physical activity at the pool by providing participation incentives such as a healthy afternoon tea.

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Ms Cruikshank said she was honoured to be awarded the scholarship and to have the support of the Department of Sport and Recreation.

“Dr MacGowan is a life member of the Royal Life Saving Society and it’s an absolute honour to continue on her legacy and put the scholarship towards something she was passionate about,” she said.

Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies said Ms Cruickshank would receive $9500 to research the Swim for Fruit program and would share her results so all sports in the region could benefit from her work.

“The research I will be doing is an in-depth evaluation of the program in the Pilbara region. In particular I’ll be examining the barriers in participation and effectiveness of the program,” Ms Cruickshank said.

“I’ll be looking at the effect the program has in improving the levels of physical activity, knowledge of healthy eating and swimming skills development.”

The minister, who is vice- patron for the RLSSWA, said the program would increase water safety awareness in communities where it was most needed.

“Water safety awareness and the ability to swim are central to our WA lifestyle,” Ms Davies said. “It’s important that everyone can swim and is safe around water.”

The program will be rolled out in Newman, Tom Price, Jigalong, Karratha, Wickham, Yandeyarra and Marble Bar.

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