In my initial days as Interim CEO here at RLSS UK, I have had a busy time getting to know more about the valuable lifesaving work undertaken across the UK and Ireland, by our loyal force of Trainers,Members, Volunteers and Staff.  The work each and every one of you do helps to prevent unnecessary loss of life.

The team here at RLSS UK HQ are working hard to prepare for the coming year of activity. We are excited to announce we have a new venue for our popular Open Water Festival, which is being held at Sywell Country Park in Northamptonshire. Entries are now open so it would be great to see as many of you as possible, supporting the event.

Earlier this month we welcomed the release of RoSPA’s publication ‘Managing Safety at Inland Waters’. We pride ourselves on being the UK’s leading provider of the pool lifeguard qualification and our aspiration would be that open water sites are as safe as the pools we lifeguard. In response to the publication of the document, whichreflects the changes in inland water use and the associated responsibilities of site managers, land owners and authority bodies,the report looks at the new opportunities, challenges and risks made apparent with public access to these sites. We have our own Water Safety Consultancy Service and this is supported by our suite of open water qualifications. We are the ‘go to’ organisation for advice and consultancy solutions, designed to support anyone concerned about managing safety or who may be looking at creating, developing or improving access to, a body of water on their land. In fact we’re already working closely with developers on a landmark waterside development in London for more than 11,00 homes.

Finally, the results of the inquest of Tom Jones were recently made public. Tom was a first year student who sadly lost his life in a drowning incident in our home city of Worcester, in September last year. Our thoughts go out to Tom’s family at what must be a really difficult time for them, in having to relive the events running up to the tragic accident. It struck me quite deeply when I stopped to read all of the poignant, hand-written family memories of victims on the RLSS UK Christmas tree at Red Hill House. Sadly, stories of this type are all too common an occurrence, and means there is still much to be done to help stop drowning.