HIGH School students have described how drowning prevention workshops, commissioned by Redditch Borough Council, have changed their attitude to swimming in open water.

The sessions were led by the Royal Lifesaving Society, with support from local police and fire officers and covered drowning information, hazards of inland water - including cold water immersion and strong currents - and basic survival and rescue techniques.

Students are being asked to pass these messages to their friends and peers to coincide with Drowning Prevention Week.

The council’s senior community safety officer James Cooper, who attended the sessions, said: “The sessions are hard-hitting and empower the students with information and skills to help them make safer choices.

“Many students at the workshops told us how they swim in open water sites around the borough and were not aware of how quickly and easily open water can kill.

“Some students were clearly affected by the information given and told us how they would be much less likely to feel pressured to swim in rivers, lakes and weirs in the future.

“For other young people swimming in open water remains attractive and there is undoubtedly more work to do to shift attitudes and behaviours. With our partners, the borough council will support local high schools to deliver further water safety education in the future.

“We were also able to tell the young people about the safe swimming opportunities available in the borough – including free swim sessions at Abbey Stadium.”

For more information about free swims at Redditch’s Abbey Stadium, and life-saving lessons, visit redditchbc.gov.uk.