Since lockdown and more specifically, the temporary shutdown of the leisure industry, we, like so many other organisations, have been in a period of protection so that we can ride this wave of uncertainty.

After running 126 miles over the past 26 days, I wanted to provide an update on both my personal, and the Charity’s fundraising efforts, whilst in lockdown.

We have certainly increased our exposure to fundraising, as we attempt to fill the gaps left by the stable income we have routinely relied on. This has been a welcome change for me; RLSS UK is a Charity and it is one of my aims in the short-term, to ensure everybody who knows and works with us, perceives us as such. In the medium term, I want to spread the net even wider, so the public become more familiar with RLSS UK as a Charity, with an increased willingness to support us through donations.

This new direction in fundraising will be a culture shock to many members, I am sensitive to that and that it may take time to adjust to RLSS UK giving more attention to fundraising. To sustain the organisation and grow, it is important to diversify, be overt about our incredible work and use that as a tool to increase income. In turn, we can provide more support to our members and grow our communities, ultimately saving more lives.

We have showed over many years now, that we play an essential part in the leisure industry and water safety community. It was great to be able to author our impact report this year which highlights the incredible work and dedication of our members. Recently, RLSS UK’s role has become even more important, as the leisure industry looks to us to get them back on their feet and back in pools, safely.

If we are to continue to do so much good, helping UK and Ireland populations to enjoy the water, safely, then the money we spend on impactful programmes also needs to increase.

For now though, our fundraising efforts are helping us to protect the organisation. As a reminder, here is a quick round-up of our fundraising efforts:

We launched our charity appeal – Protect Our Future as lockdown began. We knew that the challenge facing us was going to be difficult. We are however, doing well and prudently protecting the Charity’s assets. Pulling in additional funding was crucial in helping us to maintain activity and increase our digital output, proactively supporting members. It shows support for the Charity is as strong as ever, having now raised over £5,500. Of course, we still need this funding to help the Charity through this period and so, if you would like to donate, you still can.

We also launched our Two Point Six Challenge, that was designed to help UK charities fill gaps in funding. We had an incredible response from members who took part in our 26-hour CPR Marathon. I was fortunate to be across the positivity and community spirit, and it certainly showed how important this organisation is to so many people. In addition, we had a number of fundraisers who created their own fundraising challenge. Our combined efforts raised over £10,000 for RLSS UK and the heroic NHS.

It was important for me to ‘walk the walk’ and so, as soon as I rounded up the 26-hour CPR Marathon on 27 April, I popped on the trainers and started the first run of my own Two Point Six Challenge – 126-miles over 26 days. Yesterday (21 May), I completed the challenge: the legs are sore but I was delighted to have engaged my own friends and family to support RLSS UK. I have now raised over £1,100. You can still donate, if any of our lovely members want to sponsor me.

Finally, I wanted to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everybody who supported any of our fundraising efforts. The value of the funds raised counts for so much more than simply a financial boost, rather, it speaks volumes about the high regard people have for RLSS UK, our aims, and the work we do.

Stay safe everybody.