A REDDITCH councillor is urging residents to have safe summer fun and use the authority’s free swimming sessions, as she picks up her new portfolio.

Councillor Yvonne Smith is the new portfolio holder for community safety and has visited the borough’s weirs where new signs and safety devices have been put in place at hotspots to deter fun-seekers wanting to cool off.

The signs instruct no swimming and there’s rescue aids in place and also special co-ordinates on the signs so the emergency services can be called to the danger spots, which are often remote and inaccessible.

Coun Smith said: “Redditch has some beautiful stretches of water which look very inviting – but they have dangerous under currents and can be cold even in warm weather.

“Now we have these signs and safety devices in place to deter people from swimming in unsupervised water. I ask our community to value and safeguard from vandalism this equipment which literally could save lives.

“We are also relying on adults to warn children about these dangers – I recently read, nationwide, in one week alone, an adult and four youngsters drowned in open water.

“This is an important message that open water swimming is life threatening and I want to reiterate to those tempted to think twice.”

She takes over the community safety Portfolio from Cllr Rebecca Blake who will now have more time for her role as parliamentary candidate.

Mrs Smith added: “I know as a council we have already worked with the Royal Life Saving Society in schools to give pupils the information they need to encourage their friends – and themselves – to stay out of open water.

“We have free swimming sessions at our Abbey Stadium for residents aged under 16 so they can have a splash in the summer holidays in safety.”

More details about the free swimming is available at redditchbc.gov.uk