Kids in Kendal learn to swim in converted shipping container

  • Watch Tim Backshall's video report

Children in Cumbria have been gaining life-saving skills by learning to swim in a shipping container.

The old container in Kendal has been specially converted to teach children after swim teacher Lee Read found it difficult to hire space at hotel pools.

He believes swimming lessons are vital in Cumbria as the Lake District has so much open water that people want to enjoy.

He said: "Beyond walking the next important thing we want is for our children to swim especially in the Lakes.

"We want to know that they can jump in, fall in, feel safe getting themselves out. We want to be able to relax on holiday when our children are swimming, know they can get in, do whatever they want and we can sit there, looking at them and watching them have fun."

Built on a business park in Kendal the use of the shipping container as a pool comes as Swim England predicts there will be a fall in the numbers of pools available to use in the next few years. This is due to many facilities reach the end of their normal lifespan.

Mr Read added: "There's currently about 4,500 swimming pools in the UK.By 2030 they estimate about 2,000 of them will close.

"You've got added to that the fact that hotel pools are getting more and more restricted with what they can do in terms of customers and having memberships and things so there's less and less availability in hotel pools as well."

There is no great shortage of swimming space at the moment in this region but if the predictions are true more creative solutions could be needed in the future to make sure children keep on learning.

Yet Mr Read told ITV Border it had been hard work to get it the venture off the ground.

He said: "It's been harder than I imagined. I though yeah just chop up a container and stick it in a unit and start but it's all the little bits that add up to quite a lot."

The innovative swimming solution has been well received in the area with many parents signing their children up.

Rebecca Hodgson said: "I saw it on Facebook and didn't quite believe it and went on to Lee's page and saw all the pictures of it being fitted and was amazed. It's great for Kendal."

Marion Jones added: "Living in the Lake District you're never to far away from water so it's a really essential skill. Nis has been swimming since she was eight weeks old and really loves it so it's something really fun and enjoyable that we can do together."

Listen to ITV News' What You Need to Know Podcast: