New shop volunteers needed to help save lives at sea in county Cork
The RNLI is looking for new shop volunteers to join its lifesaving teams at Youghal, Ballycotton and Castletownbere RNLI.
Just like the charity’s lifeboats, the RNLI’s retail team need a dedicated volunteer crew -people of all ages and abilities - who can give a little time to help save lives at sea.
Paddy Crowley is the RNLI shop manager at Youghal RNLI where he has been volunteering for the last eight years.
‘I first got involved with the RNLI as a lifeboat crew member and I was a helm on the inshore lifeboat for eight years,’ Paddy explains. ‘It was when I was away from the lifeboat for a while that I was passing the shop one day and I called in and asked if help was needed. Help was needed as there were only two volunteers so I started and have been helping out since. We are open every weekend from 1.30-4.30pm on Saturday and Sunday and during the summer season we take the shop outside.’
As for what he finds most enjoyable about the role, Paddy says: ‘It is the comradeship between the lifeboat crew and ourselves in the shop and our customers are very important. I would encourage anyone interested in helping out to come along and try it.
‘You can gain some invaluable skills and training whilst volunteering at a shop and become part of an incredible team.
‘If you enjoy meeting and interacting with people, are confident in handling money, it really is a role you will love.’
RNLI shops started out as simple cake stalls run by volunteers to raise money for their local lifeboat station.
‘These stalls started selling commemorative RNLI products in around 1920 and quickly moved on to selling souvenirs and Christmas cards with all profits helping save lives at sea,’ Jennifer Grey, RNLI Community Manager explained.
‘Today, we have over 170 RNLI shops around the coast and inland, all of which are still run by our dedicated volunteers. They attract many visitors throughout the year and stock an excellent range of unique souvenirs and gifts.
‘The pandemic unfortunately hit our shops hard as they closed for periods of time in line with Covid-19 restrictions. We were delighted when we could reopen them safely in accordance with government guidance and are looking forward to welcoming our visitors in 2022. To do this successfully, we want to grow our team of shop volunteers and are looking for people who enjoy interacting with others, can help us to provide a high level of customer service and ensure our shops continue to be friendly and welcoming places.’
To find out more about how you can help generate vital funds, promote the work of the RNLI, and apply for roles in your area, go to
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 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.
Learn more about the RNLI
Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries