SWANSEA Building Society has donated £2,000 to local beach lifeguard clubs, Mumbles Lifeguard Club (MLC) and Langland Bay Lifeguard Club (LBLC), to provide the equipment necessary to train the current and future lifeguards that work on the busy beaches of Swansea and Gower.
The Mumbles and Langland Bay Lifeguard clubs – who have each received £1,000 from Swansea Building Society – act as the main feeder clubs providing the training for the professional RNLI lifeguards that give vital lifesaving and first aid cover at beaches across the local area.
Both clubs are run in a totally voluntary capacity; training and educating children from the age of seven, in water safety, lifesaving skills, first aid and resuscitation – equipping them with the knowledge required to enjoy the water safely and help others in trouble.
Each club has nipper (age 7-13), junior (age 13-16), senior (age 17+), and masters divisions. This means that by the time club members are young adults, and ready to work as professional lifeguards, they will already have many years’ experience behind them, having practised the skills and gained the necessary fitness required for the job.
The clubs also provide training and assessment for the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ), which is required by all professional lifeguards to work at RNLI patrolled beaches.
Both clubs are affiliated with the Surf Lifesaving Association (SLSA) and partake in lifeguard competitions throughout the year, with Stillwater competitions taking place in the pool during winter and beach carnivals taking place at the coast during the summer.
The beaches of Swansea and Gower have seen a marked increase in water users over the past couple of years, with recreational sports like open water swimming and paddleboarding seeing particular growth. The Covid restrictions on travel in place over the last two years are also thought to have accelerated the up-take of these sports and increased the number of ‘staycationers’ visiting coastal regions in the UK for holidays.
This growth in popularity has in turn put increased pressure on the lifeguard provision at all RNLI patrolled beaches, with a corresponding increase in the number of rescues and other incidents attended.
Langland Bay Lifeguard Club has also provided voluntary cover at the non-RNLI covered Llangennith beach for the past two summers and will be joined by members of Mumbles Lifeguard Club for the first time this year.
Alun Williams, Chief Executive of Swansea Building Society, said: “It’s been obvious to anyone spending time on the beach over the last couple of years that the number of water users has increased substantially. This has led to a very busy time for the lifeguards patrolling the beaches. It’s great, therefore, to be able to make this donation to two local clubs that not only train future lifeguards, but also provide much-needed water safety guidance for youngsters on how to enjoy the coast safely, help others who might be in danger, and keep themselves fit.”
Grant Nicholas, Head Coach, Mumbles Lifeguard Club, said: “We are incredibly grateful for this donation from Swansea Building Society. Both local clubs are completely volunteer-run, and most of the funding we get to keep the clubs going comes through membership subscriptions. This donation, therefore, comes as a great boost and will go towards some much-needed new equipment.
“Both clubs have had busy training schedules in the pool over the winter and have been back training on the beaches since late April. Many of our club seniors have already passed the NVBLQ and the RNLI test and started working at local beaches over Easter. We wish them all the best for the season, and hope everyone enjoys our wonderful coastline safely.”