FAR fewer Silhillians are taking the plunge after free swimming sessions were axed by the Government.
The scheme, launched in April 2009, gave over 60s and under 16s the chance to use pools without charge.
Over the next 12 months, the number of visitors soared at both Tudor Grange and North Solihull sports centres.
Pensioners in particular took advantage of the scheme, with almost 20,000 extra admissions at Tudor Grange.
But the project was scrapped by the Government last year, who described it as “a luxury they couldn’t afford”.
And new figures reveal that the number of visitors has dropped sharply since the scheme was scrapped.
In five months, there were 60 per cent fewer teenagers at North Solihull and 54 per cent fewer pensioners at Tudor Grange.
Councillor Simon Slater (Lab, Shirley West) slammed the decision to cut the project short.
“The decision by the coalition to withdraw funding may have an extremely negative effect on some of our most vulnerable residents.”
Coun Graham Craig, cabinet member for community services, said: “Strangely enough, I couldn’t agree more.
“We’ve got more and more cases of obesity in children and an ever increasing elderly population.
“It makes sense to myself and others that getting these groups involved in physical exercise is a must.”