Release Tuesday 31 March 2020

RLSS UK today announced that it would furlough about 70% of its UK workforce under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in response to the effects of Covid-19.

The Society said that it needed to temporarily halt most of its activities, particularly those relating to training in Leisure Centres as a way to manage the reduction in its revenue since the Government closed all centres last week.

The staff furloughed will come from all parts of the business but it will leave some staff to keep all areas functioning for the foreseeable future.

RLSS UK has moved most of its support functions online and the online shop, RLSS Direct, will for the time-being continue to operate -

They have also introduced an e-learning platform and will continue to roll out content so that training does not stop completely and members will be able to quickly re-skill themselves.

Robert Gofton, RLSS UK Chief Executive, said: “Faced with a reduced income we have been left with no option but to act in order to safeguard the Charity.”

“We will endeavour to minimise disruption to our members but we need to protect the long-term viability of the organisation so we are ready and mobilised when the time comes to get back to our training and education programmes. We are still committed to helping ensure that everyone enjoys water safely and reduce the number of people who drown in the UK and Ireland. The sooner we can get back to work the better for our staff, our members and society but in the meantime, we may be slower in our responses than normal”

“Frustratingly, we are unable to see when this may come to an end but we will furlough staff only for as long as absolutely necessary.”

“In addition to this measure, every member of staff has agreed to a temporary reduction in salary of 20% and I must say how proud I am of everyone who has reacted so positively in such difficult times. It is an honour to work with them and we will all work tirelessly to ensure we can get back to work as soon as possible.”

The Society is launching a #ProtectOurFuture appeal and is asking for donations or support through one of its membership packages. Will you donate? The money raised will support the charity through this crisis and then will be used to deliver a Water Safety Education campaign that aims to deliver education to every child in the UK and Ireland.