CHILDREN attending Sandwell’s free swimming sessions are being offered fruit to help them achieve their five a day targets and promote healthier snack options.

The ‘Free Swimming in Sandwell’ initiative allows children and young people, under the age of 16 who live in the borough, to swim without charge at leisure facilities throughout the school holidays.

The scheme, which has been running since 2013, has proven to be incredibly popular with the borough’s children and young people with over 80,000 taking part since it started.

Now, in a new move to boost the health of youngsters, free fruit – some provided by the supermarket Tesco – will be available for a trial period in a bid to promote healthier snack choices by young people.

Councillor Elaine Costigan, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for public health and protection, said: “It’s great that so many of our local children and their families take part in the free swimming initiative.

“However the choice of snacks in the vending machines is limited and doesn’t provide a healthier snack option.

“Offering fruit is a good opportunity to encourage healthier eating habits. This is a great example of how the council, local businesses and leisure services can work closely to promote access to healthy nutrition to all our residents.”