Sidmouth Surf Life Saving group bags £10,000 grant for water education

Sidmouth Surf Lifesaving Club was awarded a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund

Sidmouth Surf Lifesaving Club was awarded a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club has bagged a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund to provide water safety education for 100 of the town’s youngsters.

The group is using the money to deliver free training to seven-, eight- and nine-year-olds, to help minimise drowning incidents.

The youngsters will have access to free two-and-a-half hour sessions teaching them about water safety, rescue techniques and basic first aid.

Chairman Dave Manley has approached primary schools and youth organisations in the town about taking up some of the 100 available spaces.

Mr Manley said: “They will be going on summer holiday and they may well be going in the sea. With this kind of knowledge it should help them not get into trouble. It teaches them about rip tide currents, where to go on a beach, and where they should not be swimming.”

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The group has also used the funding to purchase 22 nipper boards to help with its growing youth section.

Since starting in 2013, the lifesaving group has seen its membership swell to 85 youngsters aged eight to 18 and now has a waiting list of more than 80 young people.

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Mr Manley said: “We have been the most rapid growing surf livingsaving group in the country.

“The problem is, our retention is so good that we are not losing anybody.

“All we can do is build from the bottom of the club. It is an opportunity for them to join the club if they are enthusiastic about it next season.

“The money means we can purchase the boards and then it becomes stock for our youth section.

“We are short because we have a lot in that early group and we have a small number of boards and that means some of the kids have to wait.

“Now they will all be able to get on the water at one time.”

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