Lifeboat volunteers appeal for continued support

MEMBERS of the Portishead and Bristol Lifeboat Trust are appealing to the community to continue to support them, after the future of funding from Portishead Town Council came in to question.

Plans are underway for the local rescue service to be taken under the wing of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in 2012 but chairman of the trust, John McCorquodale said: “This is not a time to take our foot off the accelerator and slow down on fundraising for the facility.”

If the RNLI adopts the Portishead station, the lifeboat would benefit from a wider support network but it would still need local support to keep it operational.

The town council has supported the lifeboat with grant aid for many years and has already agreed funding of �3,000 for the year 2011/2012, with a possible further �1,000 after more information is received.

However, while considering future budget recommendations at the town council meeting on November 9, councillor Marilyn Koops suggested any funding for the lifeboat should not be earmarked for the year 2012/2013. She said: “It may by then be part of the RNLI and as a national organisation, would no longer be eligible for town council funding.”

Councillors however disagreed and funding of �3,000 was recommended.

Clerk to the council Martin Dolton said: “The council gives funds to the Citizens Advice Bureau local branch, which is part of a national network, so there are certainly no rules that would exclude the Portishead lifeboat making a successful grant application if it was taken under the wing of the RNLI.”

Most Read

Mr McCorquodale added: “Even under the umbrella of the RNLI we need to make it clear that the lifeboat will remain a community-based organisation and will continue to be manned by local volunteers. The local people provide tremendous support to the lifeboat and it will still rely heavily on them, for their fundraising and grant aid.”

An RNLI spokesman confirmed that if the Portishead and Bristol Lifeboat Trust is taken over by the RNLI any funds raised in the community would be used directly for supporting the Portishead station.

As part of the adoption process RNLI is looking for a new home for the Portishead lifeboat station and the beach near to the Royal Inn, on the seaward side of Portishead marina is under consideration.

Further investigations will be taking place on the beach between now and Christmas aimed at establishing the ground conditions for any potential new slipway.