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Aberdeen (Cults) Brownies launch local RNLI youth group water safety programme

Lifeboats News Release

2nd Cults Brownies came to Aberdeen Lifeboat Station this evening to mark the extension of the RNLI's water safety education programme to local youth groups

: Ian Begg, RNLI Aberdeen’s Youth Education Volunteer (front right) and Margaret Rogacki of ExxonMobil (front left) launch the RNLI’s youth group ‘Respect the Water’ outreach programme with, from 2nd Cults Brownies pack, Poppy, Rachel and Sophie with their leader Judith Wallace (rear of photo). Photo courtesy ExxonMobil.

ExxonMobil/Ken Taylor Photography

: Ian Begg, RNLI Aberdeen’s Youth Education Volunteer (front right) and Margaret Rogacki of ExxonMobil (front left) launch the RNLI’s youth group ‘Respect the Water’ outreach programme with, from 2nd Cults Brownies pack, Poppy, Rachel and Sophie with their leader Judith Wallace (rear of photo). Photo courtesy ExxonMobil.
The RNLI rescued 8,643 people around the British Isles coasts in 2016 – and a disproportionate number of those needing rescue are young people who never intended to go into the water at all.

A gift of a data projector by ExxonMobil – a long-time RNLI supporter - will greatly extend the reach of a vital youth water safety education programme in and around Aberdeen, by enabling local RNLI education volunteer, Ian Begg, to take his life-saving water safety messages to youth groups like 2nd Cults Brownies who visited Aberdeen Lifeboat Station this evening.

Ian has already delivered water safety talks to over 9,500 young people in 67 local schools in 2017 – supporting the RNLI’s goal of reducing the number of drownings around Britain’s coast by 50% by 2025.

Extending the campaign’s reach to community youth groups, where young people choose to gather, will allow Ian to significantly extend both the campaign’s reach and impact.

“The RNLI’s ‘Respect the Water’ campaign needs to reach each young person 5 times before their 18th birthday – each talk being tailored to their age,” says Ian Begg, Youth Education Volunteer with the RNLI in Aberdeen, “Having this projector will allow me to go out to youth groups – Brownies, Guides, Scouts, Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades, youth clubs, cadet units – reaching young people with vital water safety messages in the groups they choose to join, in addition to the schools they attend.”

While schools have modern IT facilities, few youth groups have such equipment. Aberdeen RNLI issued an appeal for the donation of a projector to assist Mr Begg’s work – and ExxonMobil responded within hours of receiving the request.

Margaret Rogacki, ExxonMobil’s UK Joint Interest Asset Manager, presented the projector and said: “ExxonMobil is a proud supporter of the RNLI in Aberdeen and we are pleased that this simple gift has the potential to save many lives. Communicating the RNLI’s water safety messages to young people plays a vital role in keeping this age group safe. Tragically, many young lives are still cut short through accidents around water, and so we hope the expansion of Ian Begg’s work with the RNLI can reduce the number of deaths by teaching more young people how to take care of themselves around water.”

Local Brownies from 2nd Cults were instrumental in revealing the need. Three of their girls - Poppy, Rachel and Sophie - were invited to Aberdeen Lifeboat Station for the presentation – before Ian Begg takes the campaign's message to the pack in the next few weeks.

2nd Cults Brownie leader Judith Wallace says: “Being a Brownie is an adventurous journey, but it has to be a safe one. It’s wonderful that the RNLI is going to be able to extend the reach of its ‘Respect the Water’ safety campaign to youth organisations, and I’m thrilled that 2nd Cults Brownies will be the first to benefit. And of course the girls were over the moon to be invited to the Lifeboat Station for the launch!”

Youth group leaders who would like Ian Begg to bring the RNLI’s ‘Respect the Water’ safety presentation to their group are invited to contact Ian Begg at ianbegg60@hotmail.co.uk

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.