Busy school holidays as 1,000 children a day visit Crown Pools
PUBLISHED: 11:30 31 July 2019
Thousands of children in Ipswich have taken up their free sports memberships, with bumper attendances seen in the first week of the summer holidays - but lifeguards are ready to remove any troublemakers.
Council bosses have revealed early figures that say about 1,150 children are visiting Crown Pools, many of them using the free summer iCards distributed to children living or studying in Ipswich.
Introduced in 2018, the iCard allows children to access hundreds of sessions of different sports in a bid to keep them active during the summer holidays.
The scheme has proved popular for two years now, with some classes ending up with waiting lists after an inspirational summer of sport.
Council deputy leader Bryony Rudkin said: "We have seen big attendances for a wide range of activities.
"For example, in this Ashes and World Cup summer, our taster cricket sessions have quickly sold out so we are trying to book some more."
Football, basketball and swimming are all available across the towns sports centres, with new activities such as bubble football being added for older children.
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However the scheme has come under fire from some concerned parents in the last two years after Crown Pools became much busier than expected after the sudden uptake in iCards.
One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, was swimming with her young daughter when a young boy reportedly jumped from the pool's edge onto her.
"There must have been 80 to 100 people playing in the pool at once.
"I'm scared to go in the swimming pool since that happened to me."
A council spokesman said that they are aware the pool is much busier during the summer months.
Sports staff at the borough council have been told to take a zero-tolerance approach to anyone causing a nuisance or putting anyone's safety at risk.
Crown Pools staff have the power to evict anyone caught disregarding lifeguards' instructions or splashing other people.
A spokesman said: "We have stopped around 25 youngsters from causing a nuisance - we do not want them here and we will not let them upset people's enjoyment."
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