Lifeboats see ‘massive impact’ after loss of fundraising incomes

The RNLI out at sea in Aldeburgh Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The RNLI out at sea in Aldeburgh Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The RNLI is having to look to new ways of fundraising after seeing a massive impact on their fundraising due to the coronavirus.

The RNLI shop in Aldeburgh which is currently closed Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The RNLI shop in Aldeburgh which is currently closed Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

At this time of year RNLI stations are often hives of activity as people get out and about to enjoy the water on our beautiful coast with some needing emergency assistance.

Suffolk is home to three RNLI lifeboat stations with crews at Lowestoft, Southwold and Aldeburgh while in north Essex there are crews at Walton and Frinton, Harwich and Clacton.

However, while the charity is still sending out boats to help assist people in difficulty this summer, some of its revenue streams have dried up.

Nationally, the RNLI expects to see a drop of £45 million in its annual income by the end of the year as fundraising events are cancelled and many of the charity’s shops remain closed.

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The charity has made a number of changes which it hopes will see its expenditure fall by £30 million including closing its college and reducing lifeguard cover on beaches.

Aldeburgh is one of the locations where the RNLI’s shop remains closed.

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“There has been a massive impact on the Aldeburgh Lifeboats income so far this year,” said a spokesman for the station.

As well as shutting the shop’s doors, fundraising events which would have included the town’s popular carnival have been cancelled.

The Aldeburgh and District Lifeboat Guild hope that supporters will be able to help offset the impact on the lifeboat’s income with new methods of donation, including through text and crowdfunding.

Elsewhere, the team at the RNLI lifeboat station down in Harwich are also finding fundraising difficult.

“Our shop, which is built into the lifeboat station, is currently closed,” said Daniel Sime, press officer for Harwich RNLI.

“We don’t want to risking bringing the virus onto the station itself.”

Like their colleagues in Aldeburgh, Harwich RNLI are also missing out on fundraising income.

“This weekend would have been the annual maritime festival,” said Mr Sime.

“The biggest event of the year, but it didn’t happen.”

Mr Sime said that the festival was key to fundraising but also to getting potential future volunteers on board.

“People come and see things first hand,” said Mr Sime.

Things have started to get better in parts of the county though; in Southwold volunteers have been able to open back up the shop.

Volunteer Sue Dabbs said: “When I first saw the new processes required, I thought this might be tricky to work in our shop space, but in reality, it has worked really well.

“The volunteers that have come back to help have been impressed, particularly about how our personal safety is considered in all this.”

Online donations can be made by visiting Aldeburgh RNLI’s Just Giving page.

Money can also be given via a new text donation service.

Members of the public can donate £5 by texting RNLI MERSEY1234 to 70300 which costs £5 plus a standard rate message.

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