Dear Member,

I hope you and your loved ones are remaining well during this exceptional situation we find ourselves in globally.

You will have seen a number of updates from the RLSS UK and Ireland team. I wanted to contact you directly to give you a round-up of what we are doing as a Society during this time.

This weekend we met (virtually) as a Board of Trustees, along with the Senior Leadership Team to discuss immediate and long-term actions. Clearly, the overall situation and the closure of leisure centres will have a major impact on the Charity.

You may already be aware of some immediate actions that have taken place. Many of our qualifications have been extended by three months if they were due to expire, so you will not have to worry about expiry dates. For some regulated qualifications such as the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification, the team are in direct urgent contact with the regulators to request approval for a similar approach. Group gatherings such as Branch Annual General Meetings have been cancelled. An action plan of how we can support members across the Society is being worked through and put into place.

The team are working hard to deliver materials to help keep all our members engaged with lifesaving during these times, this includes fun worksheets for our younger members and online learning modules for us all. I encourage you to have a look at what comes out and share it with friends and colleagues - there will be many people looking for things to keep them and their families occupied while they are either social distancing or isolating.

Within your local community and clubs, there is opportunity to still meet virtually - you could host an online training session, run a lifesaving quiz online and use the time to plan activities for when the restrictions are lifted.

Many organisations will be looking at their financial situation at this time, particularly those directly affected by closures such as bars, restaurants and leisure centres. As you would expect, we are monitoring what Government support is available to us and will be ensuring we access all support we can, to help us get through this difficult period. Clearly as a charity, the need to focus on fundraising will continue to be a priority.

More than anything, I encourage you to keep engaging with the Society and each other, look out for the updates from the team here, give the online materials that will be published a go and keep in touch with your local contacts. Please also give a thought to the mental health and wellbeing of others and consider how social distancing/isolation may be affecting them, we can all still pick up a phone or send a message to check people are coping ok - we are all in this together.

Finally, I want to send thanks and respect out to our members who are helping this situation in many other ways. I am aware of members who are doing extra shifts in their jobs on the front-line with the NHS, members swapping their leisure centre work to support factories producing food and others delivering packs of support to the doorsteps of elderly members of their community. You are all truly amazing people.

If you have any ideas or thoughts on what RLSS UK and Ireland could be doing to help you or others during this crisis, please do get in touch with me or one of the team.

Thank you again for your ongoing support and please all stay safe.


Mark Smith
RLSS UK and Ireland