Folkestone Rescue Trust runs the Beach Life Guards & Inshore Rescue in Folkestone, Kent.
Based at the Sunny Sands beach, they provide cover on weekends from April to October and cover weekdays as well in school holidays and the summer for all water users, it dosen't mater who you are, a swimmer, a sailor, just having fun, we are there for you.
The team is made up of volunteers, we do not pay any staff or incur staff expenses, everything that we raise goes back into cover the running costs of the Trust.
We are in desperate need of funds to replace the engine on our small inshore boat and perform maintenance on existing equipement, this is used everyday we are open to provide cover for bathers and water users in the area and is called into service on a regular basis as people get in trouble in the water around the folkestone area.
You may be thinking that is what the RNLI are for and as a Gouvenor Member of the RNLI I support them fully, but the nearest station is Dover which is at least 10 minutes away and this makes all the difference if you are in trouble in the water and as a HM Coastguard Asset, they have the ability to deploy us first in the local area to get to the casualty gaining that extra time that saves lives.
The lifeguards on the beach can usually see a problem before it happens, be it a change in the weather and children on a inflatable being blown towards the rocks, someone who has had a little too much sun & fun being unable to get back to shore.
Last year the crew saved 2 lives which would have been lost without their help and assisted hundreds of people with first aid, advice on the sea and interventions which prevented dangerous situations arising.
We receive no statutory funding and all funds we have are donated by beach users and local organisations.
Without funding we will find it difficult to provide the level of cover we currently provide as we have fixed costs which we have to cover for insurance and general tasks, this leaves nothing to cover replacements and maintenance of the craft.
To explain a little more, yearly maintenance of our larger boat runs at about £2,000 a year to cover servicing, spares, we are lucky we have such a good boat to use which is on permament loan to us, but to keep it running well we have to spend on the maintenance to make sure it is ready to go when needed.
Currently our large boat is away being serviced and repaired as the gearbox is broken, even with labour being given by marine engineers IVSS marine at a very discounted price, the parts alone to fix the engine will be over £1200 including VAT, this may seem a lot, but if you compare the cost of a replacement engine at £8000 its not. The boats lead a hard life as they spend a lot of time being used slowly around the bay, its the opposite of a car with a boat, cars last longer when driven slowly, gearboxs on boats wear out when driven slowly as they have no normal clutch and going slowly into gear in forward and reverse all the time wears our the dog clutch which in turn wears our the gear set. The engine is only 6 years old and this is the first time it has needed gearbox work, which when completed should last at least another 6 years.
We provide cover to all local events around the harbour without charge relying on people giving donations, safety is something that cannot be sold as we will not discriminate against anyone based on money. Everyone is entitled to be safe and we will be there to make sure it happens.
Come see all the crew giving up their boxing day to go intot he cold english channel to support the Boxing Day dip run by the Folkestone Lions Club to make sure everyone stays safe, The Lions club have been kind each year with a donation for this help and its donation covers the cost of the fuel, hot drinks for the event and leaves a little towards other things.
For every pledge we have offered a reward, these will be sent in the form of a voucher which you can redeem anytime we are open. We are pleased to offer these rewards as a thank-you, you can pass onto a family member or another fund raising cause if you wish. We have chosen these rewards to encourange people to get safely on the water. The Folkestone Seasports centre is open most days in summer and we have chosen these rewards as they do not have a direct cost attached to them so we can use all of the money raised towards the running of the Trust.
Feel free to give us a call on 0845 557 8506 if there is anything else you would like to know or if there is a different way you would like to get involved or donate. We are always looking for volunteer lifeguards come and have a chat with the guys on Saturday or Sunday and they'll explain more, you just need to be physically fit, be able to swim 200M and most importantly like the beach and sea!