By now, you will have seen the news that the Island branch of the RLSS UK has secured £10,000 worth of funding from the ESF Global Grants Programme through the Learning and Skills Council.
What you might not realise is that the man behind winning the grant is none other than regular forum poster and Ventnor man, Mark Compton-Hall.
The grant will enable to Island Branch of the RLSS UK to train 23 unemployed people in beach and pool life-guarding qualifications. This is a great opportunity for unemployed over 16s to change the direction of their careers and gain internationally recognised qualifications.
An opportunity that could take them anywhere in the world, or choose to stay on the Island. There is always great demand here for qualified lifeguards during the summer (and all year round in the pools).
So what’s the background you ask? Well, you might remember that back in the summer of 2005 Mark co-founded the Ventnor Beach Safety Group with Sophie Blake-Bevan. His job was to secure initial publicity, find the right instructors and raise the funding to pay for volunteer training and equipment etc. He delivered all of those before leaving the project once it had launched in 2006.
After that, he became formally involved with the Isle of Wight branch of the RLSS, his role was to look at raising the funding to meet the Island needs for lifesavers as a whole, for beaches, pools and inshore rescue. More importantly his task was to develop a partnership agreement with the IOW Council to achieve this.
Within several months he won the Global Grant to do this and now has a role as Project Manager
Here are some of the quotes you may have already seen from the press release:
Sarah Mitchell, Isle of Wight Council’s Director of Community Services and lead on voluntary sector partnership working said “This is a superb example of how the Isle of Wight Council’s leisure services can work with the voluntary sector to deliver important services for the Island, in a cost- efficient way that makes good use of the authority’s resources. By working together we are seeking not only to create employment, but help make the Island a safer place for residents and visitors.”
Mark Compton-Hall, Project Manager Royal Life Saving Society UK (Isle of Wight Branch) said “The voluntary sector has much to offer local authorities in assisting the delivery of services. In many cases, organisations like the RLSS UK can access funding which is not available to a council. This is an excellent partnership; we have funding and expertise and the Isle of Wight Council has the facilities and a need for qualified staff.
We say “Well done Mark”. Great work that many people will benefit from.