The Lifeboat Fund is a charity whose sole aim is to support the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in saving lives at sea.
Those of us in the boating community value greatly the RNLI but we cannot take its existence for granted. It costs a massive £148m a year to run – every penny coming from voluntary donations. That money maintains over 330 lifeboats and four hovercraft in the RNLI’s active fleet, based at 235 lifeboat stations, and equips over 4,500 voluntary crew members (8% of whom are women) from all walks of life in their local communities.
The Lifeboat Fund was founded in 1866, and is an official charity of the civil service, Royal Mail and British Telecom. It is proud to be the single largest regular contributor to the RNLI whose volunteer crews rescued more than 8,000 people in 2009 and 2010 .
The Lifeboat Fund benefits from donations by serving and retired employees and from legacies. Civil servants are the length and breadth of the UK, they organise fundraising collections and promote the life-saving work of the RNLI. The RNLI values highly the support it receives from the Lifeboat Fund.
The fund paid for the first RNLI lifeboat on the River Thames following “The Marchioness” tragedy and has since funded provision of a purpose-built base, Lifeboat Pier, which is moored just down river from Waterloo Bridge.
The fund also supplied the first hovercraft lifeboat “Hunstanton Flyer” which has proved to be an invaluable asset to the RNLI, doing some sterling work. The fund currently has 12 lifeboats in service in the RNLI fleet – the latest one at Portrush, Northern Ireland, came into service at the end of last year.
Since it was established, the fund has purchased 52 lifeboats for the RNLI and over the years these boats have saved over 4,700 lives.
The focus of our appeal this year will be supporting the training and equipping of lifeboat crews at stations around the UK. It takes £1,200 to train each volunteer member of the crew.
There is an increasingly diverse choice about charities to which people can donate and, consequently, The Lifeboat Fund has to work hard to maintain its profile. The fund is therefore taking steps to get more public servants involved in its fundraising activities, encouraging more departments and other public service bodies to ‘get on board’.
If you wish to make a donation to the Lifeboat Fund you can do so through their website. If you are a serving civil servant and would like more information about the charity, or how you can help to raise funds, please contact the secretary, who would be delighted to hear from you:
Hon Secretary, The Lifeboat Fund
Tel: 0131-244 8488
Fax: 0131-244 3833