A New Forest leisure operator has hit back at claims it will stop hundreds of children enjoying potentially life-saving swimming lessons.

As revealed by the Daily Echo, swimming clubs using Freedom Leisure operated New Forest pools at Totton, Applemore and Lymington have had their long-standing bookings cancelled from the end of the year.

The clubs, some of which have been operating for 40 years, face closure and outraged members have launched a petition to attempt to overturn the decision. 

Daily Echo: Swim groups in the Forest are facing closure

READ MORE: Community swimming groups face closure as New Forest pools cancel their bookings

But Freedom Leisure, operating locally since 2021, say they 'continue to play a role in the community as the provider of competitive swimming for the people of New Forest'.

Peter Cheeseman, Freedom Leisure’s Area Manager, said: "We would like to reassure everyone that no child will miss out on their regular swimming lesson as a result of this decision. We will provide spaces on our programme at our three swimming pools and we will honour the prices charged by the swim clubs for lessons should the clubs decide not to relocate.”