Ensure UK beaches are safe to visit this Summer - Help Lifeguards #RETURNTOSHORE

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Beach Lifeguards provide essential, lifesaving cover to coastal communities and visitors around our shores. We are asking the public to sign this petition to help us #RETURNTOSHORE - ensuring the beaches around our coastlines are safely patrolled once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

The Government Treasury have formally recognised our lifesaving role as being ‘crucial’ but have not yet made any provisions to protect it.

The majority of seasonal beach lifeguards are not eligible for the Covid19 Job Retention Scheme and are therefore seeking / engaged in other employment. This includes a significant number of highly qualified and experienced lifeguards who had started employment but cannot be furloughed due to the restrictive cut-off date.

Our safety critical role will need to resume immediately once restrictions are lifted in order to prevent loss of life. This is the sole purpose of furlough, to allow essential services to resume swiftly once the restrictions lift.

If you agree with the need for a professionally run and comprehensive lifeguard service we ask that you help us share this message and contact your local MP to help us #RETURNTOSHORE. If you wish you can use a template letter for this which can be found at: returntoshore.org

Lifeguards deliver vital lifesaving work and immediate advanced first-aid often in remote locations. The provision of an effective lifeguard service helps reduce the burden on Coastguard services, RNLI lifeboat stations and the number of patients using NHS services.

Lifeguarding is a source of pride, identity and sole financial income for over 1500 lifeguards nationally. The seasonality of our operations should not stand in the way of us receiving government support. The public’s safety should not be compromised by us being unable to #RETURNTOSHORE and provide lifeguard cover this summer.

We are an emergency service. We are the trainers. The mentors and the future of beach safety. We lead our teams to protect the public, prevent incidents and save lives. Without a secured income, many of our teams have been forced into hardship by lack of government support and extremely restricted jobs market.

When beaches are inevitably reopened and travel restrictions loosened - domestic tourism will likely see a huge upsurge in demand. Busy beaches will have limited or no lifeguard provision at all. This could be magnified by the loss of experienced guards and the difficulty in recruiting new guards in a short time-frame.

The Government have recognised our crucial role in society but have not extended any measures to safeguard the service. Please sign this petition to demonstrate your support for a professional, community focussed lifeguard service. Urge the government to protect the welfare of the lifeguards and their families. We are all looking forwards to visiting our beaches again, once the time is right, we want to be there to keep you safe. Help us #RETURNTOSHORE and do what we do best - ensuring our beaches are a safe, inclusive and fun space for all.

Thank you for you support

Help us #RETURNTOSHORE