RLSS UK Club Development Programme


We acknowledge that a large amount of lifesaving activity is in the clubs.  To ensure the health of the society into the future we need strong, safe and sustainable clubs.  Additional governance, legislation and competition means that clubs have never been more under pressure.  To support clubs in their own development and to meet the industry needs, RLSS UK have created the RLSS UK Club Development Programme (CDP). The programme aims to deliver free, convenient, practical resources to support clubs while they continue to run a safe, sustainable and successful operation. We pledge to support and service RLSS UK Affiliated clubs through the club development programme. 

What is the programme for?

The RLSS UK Club Development Programme is relevant to all clubs that deliver lifesaving and lifeguarding awards and activities. It crosses all disciplines, helping to embed good practice and to publicly identify which clubs are well-run organisation with high-quality activities.


By affiliating to RLSS UK your club is part of the lifesaving family, allowing access to a range of support, services and resources, these include: 


  • Support establishing a new club
  • Governance/management support
  • Assistance with development planning
  • Assistance with funding applications
  • User-friendly resources
  • Advice line


  • Event recognition programme
  • Access to national competitions
  • National conference


  • Public liability
  • Directors’ and officers’ liability

Public recognition as a quality club.

Recognition through RLSS UK Club Development Programme -  logos may be used to promote your club.

Positioned to access funding

Achievement provides evidence and base to support investment and will help meet the grant aid criteria of most organisations.

Programme overview


The activity programme

This area focuses on the activities and opportunities the club offers its members, looking at the:

  • Programme – the activities offered
  • Instructors – who delivers these activities
  • Experience – what is the quality of the experience for members
  • Equipment and Facilities – are appropriate facilities and equipment being used

The management of the club

Clubs that are well managed tend to be more successful and sustainable, they are planning ahead as well as being prepared in the event of emergencies.

This area will focus on:

  • Governance – the set up and running of a club
  • Communication – particularly with members
  • Finances – key to the success and sustainability of any club

Duty of care

(including safeguarding)

It is the duty of every club to take steps to ensure that participants, instructors and volunteers can enjoy the activities offered by the club in a safe environment.

  • Member Induction – this means that everyone should understand their roles and responsibilities
  • Health and Safety – activities should be planned and embedded in the day-to-day life of the club

Club and Community 

This is about knowing your club, improving your club, development your club.

  • Developing volunteers
  • Growing your club
  • Engaging with your local community and the wider lifesaving community


Probationary Club

Probationary is the level for new clubs or clubs new to the RLSS UK club programme. The Probationary level is mandatory for all clubs.

Clubs have a few simple elements to complete which are compulsory to become an affiliated RLSS UK club.

Affiliated Club 

At this level RLSS UK Clubs are committed to engaging in some aspects of lifesaving activity (this need not be their sole or main focus).

These clubs have the basic elements in place to provide a foundation for a strong future.

This is the minimum standard we will accept to become an RLSS UK club.

Clubs are free to stay at this level, but we would encourage all clubs to keep maintaining, improving and developing.

From January 2020 all clubs will need to have achieved or be working towards Affiliation, if your club hasn’t started yet please contact: [email protected]

Aspire Club 

Club at this level are firmly established and are working towards accreditation.

They have ambitions to develop - maybe to increase number of members, volunteers, to expand programmes, environments or to improve overall management and governance.

Accredited Club

Clubs at this level are strong and efficient and ready to be recognised as such!  They have embedded good practice and are publicly identify as a well-run organisation with high quality activities.

Achieving this level shows that the club provides the right environment which ensures the welfare of members and encourages everyone to enjoy lifesaving and stay involved throughout their lives.

An accredited club is recognised as a safe, rewarding and fulfilling place for participants of all ages, as well as helping parents and carers know that they’re choosing the right club for their young people.

This level is mapped against the home nations accreditation programmes, therefore, working through this programme will support clubs to achieve their local accreditation scheme i.e. Clubmark.

Excel Club

This is for those clubs who really excel, they are the best of the best.

This is very much a work in progress and will be the last phase of the programme to be developed.

Get involved

Clubs wanting to get involved should complete this form.

If you have any questions please email [email protected]