Scotmid Co-op to fund a year’s training for 15 lifeboat crew

‘With new crew members joining us, this donation from Scotmid will help us continue to save lives at sea’

Scotmid Co-op has pledged a £21,000 donation to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), which will fund a full year of training for 15 volunteer crew.

The money will support one member of crew at each of the 15 lifeboat stations in Scotland that are within five miles of a Scotmid or Semichem store.

Dedicated volunteers make up 95% of people in the RNLI and, with nine out of 10 crew members having no previous maritime experience, training is important for their own safety as well as their ability to save lives.

Training includes boat handling, teamwork skills and the knoweldge to make the right decisions at key moments in any rescue. RNLI holds initial and ongoing training takes place at its lifeboat stations throughout Scotland, complemented by specialist courses at the RNLI College in Poole, Dorset.

It costs an average £1,400 to fully train one crew member each year.

“We rely on donations to power our lifesaving work and our volunteers are the lifeblood of the RNLI,” said Scotland fundraising lead Paul McKeown. “It’s important to make sure they are equipped with the right skills and the training so we can continue to provide the service that we have done for nearly 200 years.

Queensferry RNLI training coordinator Stuart Ebdy (back) and press officer and trainee helm Julie Dominguez (front) with Scotmid president Harry Cairney (left) and CEO John Brodie

“The support from Scotmid will see training happen for lifeboat crew members at 15 different lifeboat stations across Scotland. On behalf of the RNLI, I’d like to say a big thank you to all the members and customers of Scotmid for supporting the RNLI and helping us to continue to save lives at sea.“

Scotmid CEO John Brodie said: “It’s been fascinating to hear about RNLI volunteers; the training they go through, the instruction and amount of equipment that is required to save lives at sea.”

“Scotmid has been serving communities for over 160 years and the RNLI have been saving lives for over 200 years. It’s a great partnership, I am pleased that we can come together and provide support so their vital service can continue.”

Lawrie McMillan, who has volunteered for the RNLI for nine years, serving at Stranraer and then Oban, said: “Training is what gives the RNLI its reputation – it provides those with a maritime background and those without the same equal opportunities when getting onboard a lifeboat to help save lives at sea.

“As an experienced volunteer crew member, I know first-hand the important role training has in the safety and wellbeing of our crew. I have completed my Casualty Care Training course; my crew training programme and I have almost finished my navigator training programme too.

Lawrie McMillan (image: Oban RNLI/Stephen Lawson)

“As a crew member at Oban, I have used my casualty care training quite often, including one example on a shout where we arrived on a casualty vessel to a diver who had inverted and inhaled water, floating in and out of consciousness. My training alongside another crew member allowed the casualty to be quickly assessed and decide the best form of evacuation and treatment, leading very shortly after to a helicopter evacuation.

“A helicopter evacuation requires concentration and communication between the crew, coxswain and the helicopter as it’s something that can go wrong if not executed properly. We quickly had the winchman down, a quick handover and the casualty was then airlifted off to hospital.

“With new crew members joining us, this donation from Scotmid will help fund their training both here at the station and down in Poole at the RNLI College, and help us continue to save lives at sea.”