Like most UK charities already struggling with the effects of the first lockdown on their activities and fundraising, local charities now face continued challenges thanks to the latest restrictions and the impact of the pandemic on their workloads and activities.
For instance, just as they did in the previous lockdown, local charity Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat (PLIRB) remains on call for search and rescue operations as designated by HM Coastguard.
But now PLIRB volunteers are also working in accordance with guidelines from the HSE, Public Health England and government guidance to carry out operations, from responding to ‘shouts’, to essential maintenance and equipment checks on Sunday mornings at their Pett Level boathouse.
Chair of the PLIRB charity, Kev Nuttall (photo above) explains: “although it complicates our working arrangements, we manage to adhere to government Covid guidelines at all times and our volunteers remain rescue ready.”
Rescuers not rescued by Rother
But whilst the life-preserving services provided by the rescue boat volunteers remain in place, the self-funded charity’s fundraising options have stalled – and not just as a result of the latest lockdown. Despite the self-funded charity having to raise their own running costs of over £10,000 each year, Rother District Council refused the charity’s application for the government’s charity rescue grant.
The refusal is understood to be down to the fact that the 50 year old charity’s historic premises arrangements (of managing their own rubbish and waste clearance and paying ‘rates’ via their water bill) do not demonstrate the ‘fixed premises costs’ through a business rates or council tax number, the criteria that grant applications were assessed by.
“It is disappointing to find that the criteria set by Rother District Council means that our charity cannot access grants which are supposed to be available to help during the pandemic,” Kev explains. ”As a self-funded charity, the fact our overall income through fundraising in 2020 is down 95% compared to to 2019 puts an additional strain on our charity and on our volunteers.
“But although the future seems quite uncertain, I’m confident that we will get through this intact and will be around for many years to come, providing essential rescue services along the coastline. At the current time, we are extremely grateful for the support and donations we are receiving from local business, community groups and individual donations – these are an absolute lifeline for us.”
’12 Days of Giving’ Christmas campaign can help local charities
With that in mind, the Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat is calling on supporters to nominate local charities, including the PLIRB, for a chance to win a £1,000 festive financial boost as part of Ecclesiastical Insurance’s annual ’12 Days of Giving’ Christmas campaign.
The specialist insurer will be giving 120 different charities an early Christmas gift of a £1,000 donation, with 10 winners announced each weekday from 7 to 22 December. It’s quick and easy to nominate a local charity online. Nominations are open from 9 November to 21 December.
Like the similar nomination campaign reported in Rye News earlier in the year, it does not matter how many times a charity is nominated, because the more nominations an individual charity receives, the greater its chances of being selected when the daily winners are drawn at random. So the PLIRB is anxious to share details of this campaign so that other local charities also have the chance to take part and hopefully win this £1,000 funding boost.
Mark Hews, Group CEO of Ecclesiastical, said: “As a commercial company with a charitable purpose, giving back is at the heart of our business. Our annual ’12 Days of Giving’ Christmas campaign will help charities change lives for the better and we know that for many charities, £1,000 can make a real difference. We’re encouraging everyone to nominate a cause close to their hearts this Christmas to be in for a chance to win a festive financial boost.”
When the community can help
With Rye News reporting from week to week on the struggles faced by local charities, making a nomination for a local charity in the ’12 Days of Giving’ Christmas campaign is a quick and easy way readers can help local charities, without having to part with a penny. Sharing the opportunity via social media will also help local causes to increase nominations and their chances of winning.
Because, when local government support is absent, it is support from local communities and benevolent businesses which can make the biggest difference to local charities. In the case of PLIRB and the many other local charities which support community health, safety and well-being, community support does not just help local causes to get by, it can also help them to save lives.
About the PLIRB
Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat is a self-funded charity, providing inshore water safety and search and rescue services along the coastline from Fairlight to Camber, as well as inland on local rivers and waterways. The charity is staffed by volunteers, is independent of the RNLI service, and receives no central or government funding. For more information visit plirb.com
Image Credits: PLIRB , Katherine Crowther PLIRB , Pett level IRB .