RNLI calls on new volunteers to join its fundraising crew in Kerry
The RNLI is looking for new fundraising volunteers to join its lifesaving crew at its branches in Tralee/Fenit, Dingle and Valentia.
Just like the charity’s lifeboats, the RNLI’s fundraising team need a dedicated volunteer crew. Volunteers are at the heart of the RNLI and make up 95% of its people. They are ordinary people who do extraordinary things and without them, the organisation couldn’t continue to save lives at sea.
But it’s not all about volunteering on lifeboats or at a station, there are many other ways people can give a little or a lot of their time to support the RNLI and make their own lifesaving difference.
Michelle O’Shea is a member of the Valentia RNLI Fundraising Branch as well as being a Lifeboat Press Officer and Deputy Launching Authority for her lifeboat station. She has been volunteering for seven years.
‘Living in a rural area and on an island,’ Michelle explains, ‘I have always had an appreciation for the lifeboat and how valuable it is as a resource in the community. I was rowing from a young age and out on the water and aware of the challenges at sea and how weather conditions can change too. As you grow up and become educated you have a better understanding of the RNLI as a charity and you stand back and look at the local volunteer crew and think of those who have passed away who risked their lives too and had the courage to help anyone who was at danger at sea. I also look out and see the lifeboat in the harbour and it is just magical. You appreciate that even more when tourists come and take photos or when you come back after being away. With all of that in mind, I knew that I wanted to give back so I first got involved in fundraising under the direction of Lifeboat Operations Manager Richard Foran. I then became the Lifeboat Press Officer and I am now also a Deputy Launching Authority.’
The reward for Michelle is seeing the lifeboat crew in action and knowing the difference the crew can make: ‘Open days are special when you see kids getting an opportunity to board the lifeboat, they look at the crew as their heroes. I watch and am thinking I know those crew, I grew up with most of them. I remember on one open day the pagers went off and we all watched the crew in action as they ran to get their gear and go off, it was amazing. There is a sense of pride, and I am delighted to be part of that team.’
Mary Creedon, RNLI Fundraising Partnership Lead hails the selfless efforts of dedicated people like Michelle: ‘Without our volunteers, the RNLI simply would not be able to operate the way it does today. With 92% of the RNLI’s income coming from donations, the charity relies on the generosity of supporters and on the dedication of our fundraising volunteers to help raise essential funds. Thousands of community fundraising volunteers organise a wide range of activities and events each year, contributing their time, energy and skills to raise money to save lives at sea. Some of our fundraisers have been volunteering for many years while some just join us for a few months in the year depending on what their commitments allow.
‘We now really need to bolster that support and grow our volunteer fundraising crew. If you like to have fun, enjoy meeting new people and want to join a motivated and enthusiastic team, we encourage you to find out more and apply. You will learn new skills, gain experience and have the rewarding satisfaction of giving back. The RNLI will also provide all the necessary training and support so you can carry out your chosen role effectively.’
To find out more about how you can sign up to be a fundraising volunteer at the RNLI, for its branches in Tralee/Fenit, Dingle and Valentia, or to apply, click on this link rnli.org/OneCrewVolunteers
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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