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Volunteers needed to help save lives at sea at Aran Islands RNLI’s new shop

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI is looking for new volunteers to join its lifesaving team at its new shop and visitor information centre which is due to open on the Aran Islands this Spring.

RNLI/Aran Islands

Margaret Jackie Gill

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.

Adjacent to the lifeboat station at Kilronan on Inis Mór, the new visitor information is anticipated to be a key attraction for the many tourists who visit the Aran Islands each year, while the shop will ensure visitors can leave the island with a memory of their time spent there.

Lena O’Connell is the Lifeboat Press Officer at Aran Islands RNLI. Her mother Margaret has been the treasurer on the fundraising committee for almost 40 years.

‘With the recent lifting of restrictions, we are hoping that the Aran Islands will be able to fully reopen to visitors this season just like it did prior to Covid-19,’ Lena explains. From that point of view, it is an exciting time for our new shop and visitors centre to be opening.

‘Mom has been involved in fundraising for the station for almost 40 years and is delighted that with the footfall that passes coming off the ferry each day, we now have this wonderful opportunity to invite visitors in and show them the history and heritage of Aran Islands RNLI. Visitors will learn more about our lifeboats over the years, our lifesaving crews past and present and discover the significant rescues our crews have been involved in. Having a shop means visitors can buy a RNLI souvenir while also helping us to raise vital funds which will help our crew continue to save lives at sea.’

Brian Wilson, RNLI Community Manager is encouraging new volunteers to get involved:

‘Now is an exciting time to join the fundraising team on the Aran Islands. You can gain some invaluable skills and training whilst volunteering at a shop and you 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,’ Brian said.

‘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, click on the link for the role you are interested in:

Shop Volunteer –

Volunteer Shop Manager -

Volunteer Deputy Shop Manager –

Lead Shop Volunteer Stock -

Lead Shop Volunteer Rota -

Lead Shop Volunteer Banking -

Lead Shop Volunteer H&S -

Lead Shop Volunteer Training -


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

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

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