1 March 2023
By Tom Collins
RNLI calls on new volunteers to join its fundraising crew and help save lives at sea
The RNLI is looking for new fundraising volunteers to join its lifesaving crew across the county at its branches in Cork City, Crosshaven, Kinsale, Courtmacsherry and Castletownbere.
Just like the charity’s lifeboats, the RNLI’s fundraising team need a dedicated volunteer crew. Volunteers are at the heart of the RNLI and make up 95% of its people. They are ordinary people who do extraordinary things and without them, the organisation couldn’t continue to save lives at sea.
But it’s not all about volunteering on lifeboats or at a station, there are many other ways people can give a little or a lot of their time to support the RNLI and make their own lifesaving difference.
Odharnait Collins is the chair of the Baltimore RNLI Fundraising Branch having first got involved in 2019. Her RNLI roots go much deeper than that though as lifeboating is very much a way of life for the Collins family.
‘My grandfather Christy Collins was the Coxswain of the Baltimore lifeboat,’ Odharnait explains, ‘I remember the stories and awards of his from my childhood. Then my dad Pat who does relief mechanic and relief Coxswain, and his brothers, joined the crew when they came of age, and my brother Diarmuid joined the crew when he was 17. My mother Joan was involved in fundraising and after she passed away in 2018, the committee asked if I would step up. Growing up, I have always been aware of the importance of the lifeboat and the great lengths that the crew go to and it is always a relief to everyone to know it is there when needed.’
Since coming onboard as chair, Odharnait has encouraged new people to join and says there is a wonderful blend of experience and youth in the branch.
‘We work together on a range of annual events, some of which have been going for 20 years and others that are new. It is great having new young faces alongside the more senior members of the branch who have the expertise and experience to know what works well and what doesn’t so it is a great team.
‘Seeing the good that can come of something we put our heart and soul into organising is the reward for me. In Baltimore, we have sadly seen many tragedies but there has been many great rescue stories too and it is great knowing that that is where the funds raised are going.’
Mary Creedon, RNLI Fundraising Partnership Lead hails the selfless efforts of people like Odharnait: ‘Without our volunteers, the RNLI simply would not be able to operate the way it does today. With 92% of the RNLI’s income coming from donations, the charity relies on the generosity of supporters and on the dedication of our fundraising volunteers to help raise essential funds. Thousands of community fundraising volunteers organise a wide range of activities and events each year, contributing their time, energy and skills to raise money to save lives at sea. Some of our fundraisers have been volunteering for many years while some just join us for a few months in the year depending on what their commitments allow.
‘We now really need to bolster that support and grow our volunteer fundraising crew. If you like to have fun, enjoy meeting new people and want to join a motivated and enthusiastic team, we encourage you to find out more and apply. You will learn new skills, gain experience and have the rewarding satisfaction of giving back. The RNLI will also provide all the necessary training and support so you can carry out your chosen role effectively.’
To find out more about how you can sign up to be a fundraising volunteer at the RNLI in Cork City, Crosshaven, Kinsale, Courtmacsherry or Castletownbere, or to apply, click on this link rnli.org/OneCrewVolunteers