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RNLI Branch Chair Cian Mathews

If, like Cian, you’re wanting to reconnect with people after Covid-19, volunteering to raise funds for the RNLI could be right up your street.

Fundraising Volunteer Cian Mathews standing by a bay wearing his fundraising volunteer crew polo shirt

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Why do you volunteer?

Whether you’re a lifeboat volunteer or a volunteer fundraiser, there’s a real ethos in the RNLI of being one crew. It’s really fantastic to be part of that. Our goal is to raise as much money as we possibly can for the RNLI.

What fundraising event are you most proud of?

In December, we held our first ever cold-water dip. We had a brass band playing and a barbecue on the beach and, of course, people’s safety was our number one priority. It was a proud moment for everyone involved.

What concerns did you have before signing up?

I have a young family and a full-time job so my biggest concern was how much time I’d need to give. I quickly realised I was able to slot volunteering in around other things, and give my role (branch chair) the time it needs.

How have you been able to use what you’ve learned as a fundraising volunteer outside the RNLI?

We are a diverse group of people here at the RNLI, far more diverse than I have in my office environment at work, so I think my teamwork and leadership at work have definitely improved.

How important is volunteering to you for getting out, meeting people and making new friends?

During Covid, I started working from home. For a few hours each day it was just me and my dog Paschal in the house together. I’m fortunate to live close to the lifeboat station so, when restrictions allowed, I was able to nip out at lunchtime and speak to the visits crew or the shop team. It was lovely to have that human interaction.

What is expected in terms of the amount of time you give?

Fundraising roles come in so many different shapes and sizes, that there’s something for everybody. If you can’t volunteer for one event there’s always another coming right up. Even a spare hour here and there makes a huge difference.

Do you need any prior experience?

I had absolutely no fundraising or volunteering experience when I took up this role. What I found is that people around you will help you, hold your hand and guide you through the process.

How is your volunteering helping to save lives at sea?

Whether it’s providing crew kit for lifeboat volunteers or collection buckets for fundraising volunteers, the funds I help raise all go towards saving lives at sea. By ensuring that we can continue to do that, I am helping to give back to my community. And by becoming a fundraising volunteer where you are, you can too!