A £4,000 donation from Tesco is helping to keep people safe in South Devon waters.
Torbay & District Lifesaving & Lifeguard Club will use the money to teach awareness of ocean waves and currents, rivers, waterways tides, seashores and seabed coastal varieties, as well as how to act in an emergency.
In 2018, more than 300 people across the country died from drowning. More than a quarter of them were runners or walkers who encountered water unexpectedly.
With the Tesco funding, club stalwart Gill Beesley wants to ensure that she and her members spread the knowledge and skills to increase the likelihood of people surviving if they fall into water when they are out and about.
The club received the funding courtesy of a special round of voting for coastal projects as part of Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme, which has been running for four years in collaboration with the charity Groundwork.
Gill said: “I’m very grateful to Tesco for this money. It will enable us to potentially save lives by teaching personal survival, as well as forming an effective action plan to help casualties in the event of a water emergency.
“We train within our club and also organise sessions for local running clubs, rambling clubs and cycle clubs. The skills we teach include first aid, CPR and using a defibrillator.
“Many of our young people then develop their skills to become trained professional lifeguards and obtain work, not only locally but across the country. The skills they learn also help them in their personal development.”
The club’s training has proved so effective, it has members who compete and win medals at national events, and some members have competed internationally.
It also has international connections, having twinned with a club in Germany. Members visit there every year and share training methods and equipment.
Torbay & District Lifesaving & Lifeguard Club is one of three community organisations and charities in South Devon to benefit from the Bags of Help coastal funding. Swim Torquay Ltd received £2,000, while Trinity Sailing Foundation were given £1,000.
Bags of Help sees funding awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. In 42 seaside towns during May and June, customers voted for coastal projects nominated by groups working around the coasts of Britain to receive funding.
David Page, Tesco’s Head of Community, said: “We are very proud of the impact Bags of Help has had in communities across Britain. The funding scheme responds to the needs of local communities, which is why in South Devon we listened to colleagues and customers and decided to dedicate a round to groups and charities improving and preserving our wonderful coastlines.”
Customers cast their Bags of Help votes for local good causes by using blue tokens handed out at checkout points in their local store.
Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, said: “Bags of Help continues to enable local communities up and down Britain to improve their local spaces and the places that matter to them. We’re pleased to be able to be a part of the journey and provide support and encouragement to groups enjoying, protecting and improving Britain’s coastlines.”
Further information is available at www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp
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