Shipping Minister John Hayes announced last week that the government will be encouraging rescue services in local communities to bid for part of a £1 million support fund.
The minister made the announcement during a visit to Kent Search and Rescue, which received nearly £16,000 from last year’s Inshore and Inland Lifeboat Grant Scheme. During the visit, he also met search and rescue volunteers, and heard how the funding – which was used to purchase two new power boats equipped with sonar and powerful search lights – will help to save lives in Kent.
The grant was launched in 2014, to support charities running local lifeboat and rescue services, specifically on and around inshore and inland waterways, including lakes and rivers. The money is intended to buy equipment, such as life jackets, power boats, and safety gear, as well as going towards training and other costs for the charities.
One boat funded by last year’s grant was used to save the life of a canoeist in Northern Ireland, while Lough Neagh Rescue was out on their first training exercise in the new vessel.
Shipping Minister John Hayes said, “As an island nation, the safety of our coasts is vital, but it is imperative we value and support the lifesaving work that goes on every day by our dedicated local lifeboat and rescue boat services. Their commitment and skill keeps our rivers, lakes and inshore areas safe.
“Lives have been saved as a result of this scheme and these additional funds will ensure these tireless volunteers and charities can buy the equipment, training and other resources they need to provide round-the-clock lifesaving services.”
Charities have until the 20th October to apply for the scheme and submit their bids to the Department for Transport, which is running the grant in partnership with the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Royal Yachting Association.