Free swimming is a local, council-funded scheme which enables Portsmouth residents 12 years old and under to apply for a card giving access to swim for free at 3 council-run pools in the city.

How to register

To benefit from the free swimming scheme, you will need to:

  • live in Portsmouth
  • be aged 12 or under
  • have a valid Portsmouth Library card - available from any Portsmouth public library
  • pay a one-off administration charge of £3.50 when you register
  • show proof that you live in Portsmouth

A registration form is available from swimming pools, or to print below.

Where can I swim?

Free swimming is available at the following swimming pools: 

Changes to the scheme

As of 1 April 2015, the free swimming scheme will only be available to residents of Portsmouth aged 12 years and under.

If you fall within this age category and you have a valid free swimming card that is still in date, then you don't need to do anything.

Members are entitled to swim for free within available public swimming sessions up to the date of their 13th birthday between April 2014 and March 2015.

If you are aged between 13 and 16 or 60 and above, your free swimming card and entitlement will be valid until 31 March 2015.

You will not be able to re-apply for the scheme after this date.

Why is the scheme changing?

As a council we need to continually review how our funding is allocated and ensure that our priorities are met with reducing resources.

For 2015/16 the council has to find savings of £13m from its budget, placing increased pressure on current services. The overall pressure on the budget has forced a change to the current free swimming programme.

Free swimming for children aged 12 and under has been retained to increase participation in sport, promote a lifelong habit of physical activity, develop important life skills and to help reduce obesity rates within a key target group.

It is hoped that this programme will help to increase the number of children who are able to confidently swim 25m by the time they leave primary school and will be able to actively participate later in life.

The council is proud to have delivered the free swimming scheme for the last 4 years. The scheme originally started in 2009 with funding from central government which was stopped in 2010. Although the majority of local authorities did not maintain the programme, the council elected to retain free swimming for residents through its own funding.

Other swimming discounts

Discounted rates for swimming are still available for all those aged 18 and under or 60 and over at the following swimming pools:

Further discounts are also available for holders of a Portsmouth Leisure Card. The Leisure Card is a discount scheme available to residents of Portsmouth who are on means-tested benefits.

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