Who are we and why do we need your help?
We are Brentwood Selo 177, a Community Amateur Sports Club based in Brentwood, Essex. We’re a volunteer run organisation that have been successfully providing scuba diving training for nearly 60 years. We offer a range of courses to the local community, including scuba diving, snorkelling and life saving. We’re open to anyone from 10 years old, from all walks of life and ability, including disabled participants.
Over the past 5 years we have been diligently saving to replace our ageing boat. A boat we originally purchased from the RNLI, a charity that we continue to support to this day.
When COVID-19 hit in 2020 our club, along with the rest of the world was hit badly financially. Pools closed, we had to pause our training schedule and recruitment of new members. Most of our diving trips were cancelled and where we could run trips they were restricted to six members rather than the usual 12 in order to comply with the social distancing guidelines.
With this financial impact we haven't been able to raise any additional funds for our boat and we are currently dipping into our financial reserves and face the prospect of having to use some of the boat fund for day to day expenses.
A lot of our existing members have been personally hit financially through this crisis and are unable to afford diving trips on commercial boats. Having a club boat reduces the costs of running a diving trip by around 60%
One of the attractions of joining a diving club is the ability to dive from a club boat so purchasing a new boat assists us in attracting new members through our recruitment drives.
Why are we seeking funding and how will we spend the money raised?
As we head out of the pandemic and lockdown measures start to relax, it is imperative that we can provide a full programme of diver training including boat handling and seamanship skills. The club RHIB is now in its ‘twilight years’ having faithfully served us for many years. We are seeking to raise £16,000 toward the purchase of a new RHIB to add to the funds we have already raised over the last 5 years. Any additional funds will allow us to purchase equipment in specific children's sizes so we can continue to offer this unique experience to our divers of tomorrow. We have carried out numerous try-dive sessions for youth groups in the past and additional smaller equipment will allow us to expand on this offering.
In 1963 a group of swimming enthusiasts who were employed by Ilford Films Ltd at the company’s factory in Ilford Essex, became interested in scuba diving. They subsequently expanded the company’s sports club swimming section to encompass the sport and formed BSAC special branch 177. A talented member at that time created the branch’s unique diving duck logo.
Over a 20-year period the branch consolidated its membership and extended its facility when its activities were relocated to the company’s main production factory situated in Brentwood Essex. It was here that the name of SELO was added to the branch’s descriptive title, for the factory was known as the SELO works. Once it was established in Brentwood, the branch was invited to represent scuba diving on the Brentwood Sports Council, a role that perpetuated for many years.
In 1983 when the parent company decided to close all of its Essex based factories, BSAC branch 177 was at threat of closure. However, a group of its members who were being made redundant, negotiated a financial deal with the company’s sports club executive committee, which enabled not only the branch to continue to operate as a ‘special branch’, but also they retained all of its valuable equipment which included a compressor and rigid inflatable diving boat. Importantly the retention of ‘special branch’ status meant that the training pool facility located at Gloucester park pool in Basildon could be continued. This shared facility with the Basildon Town BSAC branch was enjoyed by BSAC 177 branch for over 20 years.
In the year 2000 a forward looking branch committee initiated the relinquishment of the ‘special branch status’, in favour of becoming an ‘open branch’ with all of its facilities based in Brentwood. The title of the branch was changed by adding ‘Brentwood’, however, in respect of the unique history of the branch, it was decided by the membership that ‘SELO’ should be retained along with the diving duck logo.
The success of the move of the branch’s training facility to the Brentwood Centre was reflected in the year 2003 when the branch’s revitalised membership celebrated the 40th year anniversary, a year in which coincidentally the British Sub Aqua Club celebrated its own 50th anniversary.
The positive impact of our club in the community
Our divers are united by their love for the underwater world. We get together weekly for our pool sessions and sometimes go further afield to open water dive sites across the UK and abroad. The club helps to bring together like minded people who want to stay active to have fun underwater (and above!). As a club we also provide free equipment hire for the first year including air fills for cylinders, meaning that our members can dive as much as they want.
Our club helps to teach new divers about physics, underwater life and environmental protection. We often have club members collecting rubbish from our waters on dives which have unfortunately made their way there.
During the lockdown a number of our instructors took it upon themselves to complete the BSAC Diving for All Diver Manager and Buddies Course BSAC DfA Dive Managers and Buddies Course to better equip the club to cater for disabled divers. As soon as restrictions allow the training will be continued with practical DfA Instructors course.
The negative impact of COVID-19
Like many sports and leisure clubs, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided many challenges but we’ve worked exceptionally hard to ensure that our club not only survives but thrives!
We have endured the liquidation of our landlord, closure of our swimming pool, a near 15 month interruption to our training schedule, cancellation of dive trips and of course the difficulties associated with the recruitment of new members. With each new challenge, our members resolve has strengthened and we are committed to ensuring the club emerges stronger. Crowdfunding will help us to achieve our goal of providing continued community support.
If you want to know a little bit more about what we do....watch the following clip...