History of the Brigade
The Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade (TVLB) is the oldest and one of only 3 remaining active Volunteer Life Brigades in the UK. The TVLB was formed following the tragic loss of 32 souls from the stricken ships of the S.S.Stanley and the schooner Friendship on 24th November 1864 at the Black Middens rocks at Tynemouth. Thus, the TVLB can rightly claim to be the foundation of today's Coastguard Rescue Service.
The modern Brigade
The brigade is now over 150 years old and has constantly evolved and developed to meet the increased demand on its services. The modern brigade has 4 main roles:
- Search and rescue team: The brigade provides a 24-hour, 365-day multi-disciplinary shore based coastal rescue service. The rescue team is a declared facility to HM Coastguard and represents the Coastguard Rescue Service in the North Tyneside and Newcastle area. The brigade currently has 23 active members and responds to an average of 120 callouts per year, with the most being 147. The team trains to a minimum of the Coastguard’s competency system which includes: Rope rescue, Water rescue, Search & Rescue, First Aid and Helicopter support
- DEFRA National flood response asset; since 2017 the brigade has been listed on the Coastguards national flood asset register. As one of the largest rescue teams the brigade can provide both human assets with their own dedicated equipment and physical assets with its emergency vehicle and trailer.
- Education: By regularly visiting schools, community groups and public events we provide advice and guidance on sea safety and drowning prevention throughout the North East. So far in 2019 we have trained over 4,000 children from 17 different schools.
- History : The brigade operates from our (free to visit) Watch House museum in Tynemouth which houses an amazing display of artefacts from the rescues that have been carried out over 155 years of history. The brigade also has a historic breeches buoy display team.
What will your funding provide
As a registered charity the brigade is entirely funded by donations, grants and fundraising activities and run entirely by non-paid volunteers. As well as the volunteer rescue team there is also a dedicated volunteer support team including directors, fundraisers, museum guides and friends of the TVLB who give their time, money and commitment to support the brigade.
The brigade has annual running costs of around £27,000 however operates a balanced and responsible financial policy. Throughout the Covid crisis the brigade has continued to provide a coastal rescue service but has been unable to carry out our usual fundraising activities. This has left a shortfall in our finances and your funds will help us to continue to provide this essential life-saving service.