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Dolphins set for Glasgow swim

Islay and Jura's young swimmers are getting the chance to train in an Olympic sized pool thanks to ferry operator CalMac's Community Fund. 

The Islay and Jura Dolphins are using an award from the Fund to organise a trip to the Tollcross International Swim Centre in Glasgow. This will involve a training gym class to educate them in the benefits of developing all round fitness and several hours of 'long-course' training in the pool. 

'Training in a pool twice the length of their own is considerably different from their normal training, more challenging and daunting, and requiring new skills,' said club representative, Karen Siddall.

'This project will give the young swimmers a chance to access facilities and activities that they don't have on Islay or Jura. Training in a larger pool will help their development and give them more of a chance to compete on the same level as mainland swim clubs.'

The Dolphins were just one of four successful bids to the Fund from Islay and Jura. Islay & Jura Community Enterprises were given an award to provide five half day employability workshops in areas such as interview skills, CV writing and job searches aimed at 35 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Fèis Òigridh Ìle is Dhiùra's award will go towards organising their weekly traditional music classes and the Islay & Jura Highland Dancers are using theirs to help the group strengthen links with Irish schools and develop mutual skills and understanding of one another's cultures. 

Islay swim club

CalMac's Community Fund drives social value by supporting non profit organisations, based in a mainland port or island the company serves, delivering projects to benefit the lives of children and young people living in west coast communities. Organisations can apply for an award between £500 to £2000. 

So far the Fund has supported 76 projects from woman's football in the Outer Hebrides, to the Campbeltown Sea Cadets and a Gaelic youth club on Skye. 

Each application was judged by a screening panel of young people recruited from across the company's network, in partnership with Young Scot.

'A key aim of the Community Fund is to remove barriers experienced by island youths. Clearly not having the ability to practise in a full size pool puts island swimmers at a disadvantage compared to their mainland competitors and I'm sure this experience will help them grow as swimmers, All four projects impressed the judges with their commitment to increasing opportunities for young people,' said CalMac's Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Gordon McKillop.

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