PARENTS of babies under the age of 12 months can now go swimming with their tots for free at all Renfrewshire Leisure-run pools.

The initiative was launched after Johnstone mum Laura Bartlett approached her local councillor Jacqueline Cameron about people on parental leave not being charged a concessionary fee to go swimming, even though they are being paid less money or getting no wage from their employers.

Councillor Cameron raised the issue with fellow councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure’s board, who was happy to help.

Laura, who regularly goes swimming with her daughter Rosie, said: “I think this is fantastic news. I’ve been taking Rosie to the pool at Johnstone Sports Hub since she was about three months old and it’s great for her development. It’s an activity we enjoy doing together.

“I didn’t think it was fair that I was having to pay full price to go swimming, even though I wasn’t bringing in as much money while I was on maternity leave, and there would be other people in the same position as me.”

Councillor Hughes added: “We want to encourage as many people as possible to live healthy lifestyles, so it’s a good idea to introduce babies to the water at an early age as they love being in the pool.”