New shop volunteers needed to help save lives at sea at Southend-on-Sea RNLI

Lifeboats News Release

The RNLI is looking for new shop volunteers to join its lifesaving team at Southend-on-Sea RNLI.

RNLI/Southend-on-Sea

Shop Manager Doris Banning

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.

Doris Banning has been the RNLI shop manager at Southend-on-Sea since 2017. She began volunteering in the shop in 2014, and after three years, she became shop manager.

‘The Southend-on-Sea RNLI shop is at the end of a pier that is 1.3 miles long, and for me, it seemed to be a unique place to volunteer. We also have two lifeboats that can be viewed from the shop, an Atlantic 85 and a D Class. In addition to selling their products, the shop acts as an information point for all aspects of the RNLI, so duties are varied, which I enjoy.’

Doris encourages others to join: ‘By getting involved as a shop volunteer, you can discover many sides of the RNLI, and, at the same time, you can meet people of all different backgrounds and nationalities.’

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,’ Nathan Tough, 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, go to https://volunteering.rnli.org/vacancy/shop-volunteersouthend-473993.html?_ga=2.167962401.1807215458.1644819346-1504325062.1603365337

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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.

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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 by email.