Sub C Divers operates as a community-oriented amateur sports club, officially recognised as Branch 1206 of the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC), and adheres to BSAC regulations. The club's daily operations are managed by 11 committee members who have been elected for this purpose. We also created a youth committee to help the youth of our branch have a voice.
Established in1980 by two experienced divers the club were able to make Howe Bridge Leisure Centre their home base in 1981. Despite some difficult periods our organisation has flourished over the years. With over 80 current members our growth has been fuelled by Try Dive events, personal recommendation and local promotional efforts.
We take pride in our longstanding membership, which includes individuals who joined us as far back as the 1980s and 90s. Some of our members have transitioned to careers in the commercial diving sector, while others have passed down their love for the sport to their children, who are now part of our club.
Our weekly club meetings at the Leisure Centre include practical training sessions and theory lessons and discussions about both diving and life related skills e.g. Use of AEDs and CPR using a Resusci Annie. All training activities are overseen by our dedicated team of nationally qualified instructors and our committee members all of whom generously volunteer their time and expertise.
Throughout periods of economic uncertainty during the life of the club our united passion for diving has enabled us to overcome the challenges we have faced and to maintain a strong sense of camaraderie. A recent surge in membership has continued to enable us to demonstrate our commitment to our sport. It has also fostered a shared sense of achievement amongst our existing members as newcomers gain diving qualification.
We have previously experienced great success in crowdfunding back in 2022 with the assistance of Sports England and our broader community. Together, we were able to raise just over £25,000. These funds were allocated towards refurbishing our old RIB and purchasing a brand new engine with a 5-year manufacturer's warranty.
This investment enabled us to expand our team of boat handling instructors from one to three, significantly enhancing our ability to deliver boat handling instruction to students aged 14 years and older. Currently, we boast over 25 members who are qualified boat handlers.
Old photographs before the boat refurbishment
Boat after refurbishment and brand new engine
The demand for our boat handling courses has surged, and we've been able to organise dependable dive trips, taking our members to offshore dive wrecks to explore the underwater world. None of this would have been possible without the unwavering support of our community, crowdfunding efforts, and Sports England.
Now that our boat has been fully refurbished, we are confidently able to participate in and offer Practical Rescue Management courses. This course offers a unique opportunity to safely expose divers to realistic diving incidents while focusing on the development of rescue-management skills.
Participants will not only enhance their personal rescue skills but also gain valuable experience in managing a team during hypothetical rescue scenarios in a controlled open-water training environment. Emphasising teamwork, the course teaches students to effectively utilise available resources in rescue situations, covering essential aspects such as casualty removal to safety, prioritizing first aid, summoning emergency services, and evacuating casualties.
With a blend of theory and practical sessions, the course ensures comprehensive understanding and application of rescue management processes. Through direct involvement in various diving-related rescues, participants will have the chance to refine their existing rescue skills and test their management abilities in simulated open-water incidents.
Following the success of our crowdfunding campaign, BSAC, our governing body, approached us to conduct a webinar for all SCUBA branches across the country. Their aim was to assist them in recognizing the potential to raise essential funds. We were thrilled to share our experiences and lend support to our fellow divers nationwide.
Thanks to our past fundraising achievements and ongoing marketing efforts within our local community, our membership has grown significantly from 60 to 85. Additionally, we consistently attract monthly visitors eager to explore our SCUBA diving Try Dive activities. However, we currently lack the necessary SCUBA equipment to facilitate these experiences.
To ensure we can continue supporting our branch members, students, and the broader community, we are seeking additional funds."
Following the lifting of the pandemic restrictions we were fortunate to retain 60 branch members. Through concerted efforts our membership has increased by over 30% with continued growth anticipated. Although very welcome, this increase has placed significant strain on our equipment resources.
A considerable portion of our new members, particularly those participating in Try Dives, are young individuals from diverse community groups. Unfortunately, much of our equipment, which has been generously donated, is not suitable for these participants. For instance, standard adult-sized 12-litre cylinders are too heavy for our young Try Divers. Utilising 7-litre cylinders would be far more appropriate, yet we lack the necessary funding to acquire and maintain them.
Our instructors are dedicated volunteers who invest in their own training courses to facilitate the training of others. Some have even completed the Diving For All courses, which enable them to instruct individuals with disabilities interested in diving.
We firmly believe that providing financial support for training courses would allow more instructors to develop their skllls thereby benefitting not only themselves as individuals but the club and future generations of divers.
Our aim is to secure £10,000 to contribute to the purchase of new SCUBA gear. We've seen a growing interest among younger members of the community who are eager to experience Scuba diving. However, our existing equipment doesn't adequately meet their needs. With any funding achieved, we intend to invest in smaller-sized, child-friendly gear to accommodate this expanding demographic.
Sub C Divers is situated in the Wigan Borough of Greater Manchester. We attract members from both within the local and neighbouring boroughs. Our members span a wide age range from 9 to the mid-70s, we have members with physical and with mental disabilities and we have been recognised by our national organisation as having one of the highest proportion of female members nationally. Our members live, volunteer, work and attend school and colleges in the local area and are passionate that their club benefits their local community.
We have nurtured strong connections with various youth organisations including scouts, local football teams and young carers many of whom have participated in Try Dives additional to those we run on a monthly basis. In addition to our diving activities we have engaged in supporting community initiatives including community gardening, supporting local carnival and received a presentation from the local mayor for our non diving related activities. We have additionally received recognition for our collaboration with a local Rotary Club in their charitable fundraising.
Within our Sub C Divers community, we recognise the invaluable opportunities afforded by club diving. It allows us to partake in thrilling, challenging, and fulfilling dives while fostering an atmosphere of camaraderie, exploration and personal development.
In the wider world, we have participated on diving trips in litter picks organised by Surfers Against Sewage, volunteered with Marine Mammal Rescue Teams, our members undertaken voluntary work in turtle sanctuaries and Marine Wreck Identification programmes. We have witnessed remarkable growth.
Our club places a strong emphasis on teamwork, effective communication, and safety. Members acquire essential skills such as CPR, defibrillator usage, and water safety protocols, instilling a profound sense of responsibility for protecting the underwater environment for present and future divers. Over the past five years, our club's diversity has notably evolved, transitioning from primarily male-oriented to a more inclusive and family-oriented group, with a significant increase in female and youth participation in the sport.
In addition to our community involvement, we collaborated with Astley Rotary Club to deliver a crucial message: each year, numerous lives are tragically lost in water-related incidents. Recognising the importance of this message, we have dedicated ourselves to creating and disseminating this public announcement tirelessly, reaching out to schools, clubs, and the broader community.
We also contacted Combat Stress, an organisation dedicated to offering clinical treatment and aid to veterans from the British Armed Forces, particularly those grappling with intricate mental health challenges. For many ex-military personnel, their service experiences linger long after leaving active duty. Untreated psychological trauma can profoundly impact lives. Our try dive and learn-to-SCUBA initiatives have been shown to provide valuable support for mental health.
Following the pandemic, we've expanded our team by welcoming two more internationally recognised BSAC Boat Handling Instructors. Additionally, we've successfully qualified nine more BSAC Nationally recognised SCUBA diving instructors."
In 2016, our club's expedition to Northern Ireland resulted in the prestigious recognition of the BSAC National Expeditions Award, bestowed upon us at the National Dive Show.
In 2019, we were honoured to be named a finalist in Wigan Council's Believe Sports Awards, managed by Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles. This nomination acknowledged our exceptional contributions and outstanding work within the community.
In 2020, our governing body, BSAC, commemorated the club's four decades of dedication to advancing underwater exploration.
In 2023, our branch was honoured with the "Heart of the Community" award by Wigan Council. We proudly attended the award ceremony alongside the Mayoress. The award was graciously received by Maria Nicholson, our dedicated BSAC branch secretary.