HAMPSHIRE’S only open water swimming venue has pledged to continue to offer free swimming for under 16s and over 60s.

Many councils have been forced to axe the popular scheme from the end of the month following a withdrawl of Government funding. But Lakeside Multisports in Eastleigh will keep running the scheme.

“It’s so important for youngsters to swim and for older people to remain active and free swimming has been a great initiative to encourage both,’’ said Brett Britton, who runs the open water venue at Lakeside Country Park.

Martin Timby who runs Lakeside Multisports added: “We are totally committed to offering free swimming for these groups of people.

“We know how much parents value being able to bring the children here for free and how some of our more mature swimmers can benefit from regular outdoor swimming without worrying about the cost of keeping fit.’’ Lakeside Multisports offers four early open water swimming sessions a week. See: lakesidemultisports.co.uk.