A scheme which has helped hundreds of deaf Scottish children to learn to swim will be named one of the UK's most popular National Lottery initiatives at a ceremony in London tonight [monday].

The event, to be screened by the BBC and hosted by John Barrowman, will reveal that the National Deaf Children’s Society (NCDS)’s Deaf-Friendly Swimming Project has been chosen by the public in the Sport category to win a £5000 prize. The Big Lottery had previously awarded £50,000 to support its work.

Although there is no obvious reason why deaf children cannot learn to swim, the charity says in practice it is difficult. This is due to a shortage of teachers who know how to meet the needs of deaf children, and have skills such as sign language. Meanwhile the acoustics of swimming pools can make it harder for those who have some hearing and many hearing aids and cochlear implants cannot be worn in water.

NCDS says 400 children have so far taken part in the three year programme, which removes such barriers. Funding for the project runs out in July 2017, but the NCDS is looking to extend it.

While swimming is fun and a potentially lifesaving skill, the charity also says learning to swim opens up a range of other water-based activities to deaf children including scuba-diving, surfing and sailing.

The scheme beat 600 other organisations in a public vote to win the Sport category, one of seven in the final of the annual National Lottery Awards.

NCDS will now attend a star-studded red-carpet presentation awards ceremony in London hosted by John Barrowman which will be broadcast on BBC One tonight, (Monday 12th Sept), at 10.45 pm. Other attendees include Katie Derham, Max Whitlock, Ainsley Harriott, Anita Rani and Kimberley Wyatt.

Eleanor Connelly, NDCS Swim Project Development Officer in Scotland, said, "The prize money will help us change the lives of even more deaf young people across Scotland. This is a fantastic reward for the team to get national recognition for their hard work creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people."