Swim for León and raise money for our twin town in Nicaragua

Published: Friday, 10th June 2016

Oxford City Council is supporting the annual plunge into Hinksey Outdoor Pool on Monday (4 July, 4.00 - 7.00pm) to raise funds for water projects in León.

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America and funds raised will help provide clean water to communities where the supplies are contaminated by arsenic.

Last year, more than 30 swimmers of all ages, swam as many lengths as they could joined by councillors and officers from Oxford City Council.

Bob Price, leader of Oxford City Council is participating again this year and so is Cllr Mike Rowley, who was part of a 2013 Oxford delegation to León and had the chance to see first-hand a clean water pipeline under construction, now complete. He said: “I met people affected by lack of clean water, including those suffering from arsenic poisoning, and saw the consequences of having no supply - such as a local clinic with nowhere for the staff and patients to wash their hands, where they had to incinerate clinical waste in the courtyard.  It was great to see how Oxford-Leon Link funding helps bring affordable clean water to the poorest communities, while also giving those communities a measure of control over their water supply, and providing employment for local people.”

Jan Marshall, Oxford León Association and Trust chairwoman said:

“This is a lovely community event and we are so grateful to the people taking part and supporting it. Here in the UK we take running water for granted while in the area round Telica in the province of León, people get water from wells, many of which are contaminated by arsenic. We hope that with funds raised from this event, the pipeline bringing clean water from the mountain can be extended to other communities”.

The Oxford León Association and Trust, which has been raising funds for development projects in León since the twinning links were formalised in 1986, will host the Sponsored Swim, its main fundraising event.

The Oxford León Association and Trust (OLAT), a registered charity, raising funds for development projects in and near to León to help a country affected by political instability, poverty and natural disasters. It has raised money to provide clean drinking water, buy equipment for primary schools, offer basic first aid training and support for victims of domestic violence, among other projects. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the link and the association is planning further events to celebrate this.