The Trustees and Crew of the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust are delighted to announce that planning permission for our new Lifeboat House has been approved.
We would like to thank everyone who has helped so far; the trust would not be in this position without the kind support of the people of Southport. Wholeheartedly, we thank you.
The proposed new building will be large enough to house all of the life saving equipment used by our crew, along with providing facilities to ensure they have the best possible environment for training.
A larger, purpose built station not only means that both lifeboats and their respective launch vehicles can remain coupled together, but will also allow room for the much needed facilities our crew have been lacking for so many years; all at a location closer to the beach.
The current boathouse was built in 1886 and has served Southport’s independent crew loyally since our establishment in 1987. Inevitably, the facilities are now dated, with the station suffering from a lack of washing provisions, heating and space; this means crew often go home cold and wet, with kit that can still be damp three days after being used.
The dream of a new lifeboat house has been in the pipeline for nearly 20 years, however, the National Lottery rejected a proposal for a new station in 2000 leaving the trust to raise the necessary funds ourselves. The lifeboat house project unfortunately had to be shelved as other appeals, including that for a new lifeboat, took priority.
Since the purchase of the current Lifeboat in 2007, our fundraising efforts have been focused towards the new Lifeboat House, whilst simultaneously covering the annual running costs of the boat and continuing to improve on the quality of service provided.
Thanks to the generosity of the general public, over £700,000 has been raised towards the build project so far. It is a great relief to finally be able to see our efforts come to fruition; until we received the official notice of permission, we hadn’t dared to imagine the day we get that boat onto its new station.
The appointed project managers, Graham Antony Associates, Garstang, will now begin drawing up a detailed costing plan so we know exactly how much more we need to raise to complete the project.
A final push for funds will be announced once we know how much is left to raise. However, if people wish to donate in the meantime, they can do so in any of the following ways:
- Donating to or buying from our charity shop on Everton Road, Birkdale,
- Playing Lifeboat Lotto – Canvassers are currently active in the Southport area signing up newplayers. Alternatively players can sign up in our shop or through our website.
- Through our PayPal, details are on our website.
- Donating to one of the many collection tins which can be found in pubs and shops across thearea. Anyone wanting a collection box for their shop should call the lifeboat house.
Information on other ways people can donate can be found on our website – www.southport- lifeboat.org.uk.
“We would like to thank all the people of Southport for all their support in helping us get to this stage.
“We have been working tirelessly for over 15 years to make the dream of a new Lifeboat house a reality. Our current boathouse was built in 1886 and used until 1924 by the RNLI when they operated a lifeboat in Southport.
“It has served its purpose for us over the last 30 years but suffers from a lack of toilets, wash facilities, heating and space. Our modern day Lifeboat service is not just lifeboats: a lot of our call outs include using our quad bikes, mud rescue equipment and other vital kit, all of which need to be stored in a clean, dry environment.
“This new building will not only provide enough space for all our equipment, but will also double as a good co-ordination centre in the event of local emergencies.
“There is still a lot of to be done behind the scenes so it is vital the hard work does not stop.
“The kind donations from the people of Southport, to our Trust, are only used locally to continue improving the service we provide. Whilst we are fortunate to have a large proportion of the money in place, we will still need a final push to raise the remainder and we hope the continued local support will help us reach our target.
“Our charity shop in Birkdale is a major source of income to us and the Lifeboat Lotto are currently working hard to recruit new players through door to door canvassing around Southport.”
Keith Porter, Senior Coxswain
“Whilst it will be a shame to leave the current station which has served us well over the past two and a half decades, we are now looking forward to improving on the service that we provide from a new Lifeboat house.
“Due to a lack of space, we currently have one of our lifeboats stored in a shipping container behind the lifeboat house and other vital equipment stored offsite. Bringing all of our assets together and under one roof will allow us to operate a lot more efficiently.
“Our crew won’t have to spend precious minutes hitching up the Inshore lifeboat to the tractor on a call out, so will be able to respond more quickly to an incident, potentially saving lives.
“The support of the public means that the crew now have some of the best equipment available in the world, making our job not only easier, but most importantly safer.
“The missing piece has been a base of operation that is able to store all of the equipment that we use. Once again the people of Southport and the surrounding area have come through and helped us to a position where we can build that base.”
Kath Wilson, Charity shop manager, Trustee and founder of the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust
Since the loss at sea of my son, Geoff, in 1987, I have made it my life’s ambition to build a successful Lifeboat service for Southport. From the arrival of the first boat in Southport in 1988 to the present day all the crew and volunteers have pushed with a united aim, with over 250 casualties having been returned to shore safely”
“It is fantastic that we have been given permission to build and, as charity shop manager, I would like to personally thank everyone who has volunteered or contributed to the Charity shop, and in any other way, over the last 28 years.”
“The existing Lifeboat House has been a wonderful base for us but every time I go there I see how the
crew are struggling for space. This new building will provide a relief to that situation and a fantastic new home for the service for many years to come”.
Steve Hoyle, Lifeboat Lotto
“We are delighted that planning permission for the new Southport lifeboat house has been approved. It is fantastic news for all of the volunteers involved who have put in many hours of hard work, but more importantly the members of the public who enjoy using the Sefton coastline.
“Lifeboat Lotto was set up in 2010 in order to help cover the running costs of the Southport Lifeboat, so that other funds raised could be concentrated on other projects, such as the new lifeboat house.
“Players sign up for two pound per week by standing order and pick four numbers. Matching all four numbers can mean a jackpot of up to £5000.
“On behalf of Lifeboat Lotto, I would like to thank everyone who currently plays for helping us break £200,000 in funds raised for the Southport Lifeboat so far.
“We currently have a canvassing team going door to door in the Southport area signing up new players. They
“Players can also sign up through the Southport Lifeboat website or in the charity shop in Birkdale.”
Notes to editor
Key Facts about the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust
The registered charity (No. 1146805) that runs the Southport Lifeboat, shared plans for their new development last December, including an overview of the site’s appearance and dimensions.
Run by the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust (SORT), Southport Lifeboat provides a lifeboat and land based search and rescue service around the Sefton coastline.
We are a registered declared facility with the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA).
Independent of the RNLI, the Trust relies on donations and fundraising to support itself to provide a first class life saving service in an area of coast and water covering between the River Mersey and the River Ribble, and up to 25 miles offshore, including Southport Marine Lake.
Our crew are all unpaid volunteers who are on call all year round. When the pagers go off, the crew drop what they are doing to provide help for those in need.
The crew regularly give up their time to train and fundraise for the Lifeboat.
The service was set up in 1987 following a series of tragedies off the Southport coast. Kath Wilson, whose son Geoff Clements drowned whilst out fishing with friends, raised funds for a lifeboat service to be re-established at Southport. The RNLI, who removed the Southport Lifeboat in 1925, felt the area was sufficiently covered by Lytham St Anne’s and New Brighton Lifeboats. Therefore Kath, with others, set up the Southport Independent Lifeboat, which came into operation in December 1988.
Kath is still actively involved in the running of the trust- both through her role as a trustee on the committee and her vital work in running the charity shop in Birkdale.
The first lifeboat at Southport for nearly 64 years was named the Geoff Clements.
The Southport Lifeboat have helped in the safe return of over 250 people since being formed in 1988, and aim to give our crew the best equipment possible to help save lives on our coastline.
can be identified by their Lifeboat Lotto ID badges and clothing and they will be signing up new
members by standing order only – not collecting cash.
The trust is run completely by unpaid volunteers, and all money raised is spent locally on saving lives. The Lifeboat house currently used is on The Esplanade, on the entrance to Pleasureland car park.
Our current boathouse was built in 1886 by the RNLI, and suffers from a lack of wash facilities, heating and space. This means crew often go home cold and wet after both callouts and training. The kit can still be damp two or three days after being used.
Due to space issues, two of the launch vehicles are kept off site and the second lifeboat is kept in a shipping container behind the lifeboat house.
The new station will bring all of the equipment under one roof, at a location on Marine Drive closer to the beach. This will mean our crew will be able to respond quicker to an emergency.
A new lifeboat house has been in the pipeline for over 15 years. In 2000, the Trust was refused funding from the National Lottery.
In 2005, the lifeboat on service was in need of replacement, so the New Lifeboat Appeal was launched and the lifeboat house project was put on hold.
In two years, £140,000 was raised to buy the new Lifeboat for Southport, a 7.4m VT Halmatic built to the latest draft of the MCA code of practice and capable of nearly 50 knots, she is also capable of going out in rough seas.
Since 2010, the trust has been working hard once more to deliver a new boathouse to Southport. The trust arranges of all of its own training for the crew.
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