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How far we've come!......

posted 11 Nov 2014, 11:30 by Ross Halfpenny
As we draw a close onto the Summer training plans and look to the winter sessions it's time to take a stock check and see how far we've come in the first 12 months as a start up Surf Life Saving Club.  
In the summer 2013 a new SLSC in the side town of Broadstairs was set-up.  Viking Bay beach is the centre piece to this wonderful town. The beach is a large sandy bay boarded to the left with a small pier where a handful of fishing boats are moored up.  An ideal place to set up a club, with romantic images of a club house on the beach, regular training sessions followed by BBQs on the sand; reality sets in, where do you start? 
Following The SLSGB Set Up A Club guidance was a great starting block.  Following each step to become a voluntary club.  

A lot of hard work was put in with some people putting huge amounts of time into chasing funding opportunities and countless hours of grant applications. All of this hard work paid off tremendously. The club was presented with a defibrillator, First Aid kit and money for the hire of oxygen in March by the London Array along with a small grant from Mars Milk which was spend on training equipment.  We are very thankful for these early grants as without them we would have been unable to start the beach training sessions.
One of the clubs chief aims is to promote Lifesaving in the community and especially to young people.  As a start-up club we opted to run as an adult only club until we were confident before trying to add any regular youth or nipper sections.  However we did offer a range of Junior Lifeguard sessions over the course of the summer holidays.  Under the guidance of SLSGB and with the help of a Awards for All National Lottery grant we ran 3 sessions seeing 25 children complete the course. Some enjoyed it so much they came back twice: looks like we may have a nipper section coming together for the coming season!  

With equipment coming together and with a team of trained TAs we ran two Beach Lifeguard courses over Easter and a further one over the summer holidays.
Throughout the summer we had regular members coming along to training sessions and it was time to start putting together some teams to represent at competitions.  We managed to send teams to Youth, Open and Masters Competitions in August, bringing home a good medal haul for such a young club. 

We survived our first IQA observation and have taken on board some minor changes for the following season. 
The Club is hugely proud of how far it's come in the last 12 months; from 6 members in March to a current membership of over 50 and excited to see where the next 12 months will take us. We won't let up over the winter though and have two training a sessions a week still planned throughout the rougher months.
If you'd like to get involved with Broadstairs SLSC then look us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/broadstairs.slsc) or our website at www.broadstairsslsc.co.uk