Tony Kershaw tells us more about Wantage Life Savers who are based at Wantage Leisure Centre where they train and help others become Water Smart
Wantage Life Savers is a small club but continues to have big ambitions. For over 25 years we have competed at local, regional and national life-saving competitions. This year we are planning to compete on the Commonwealth stage.
Many members have been reaping the rewards of their twice-weekly training sessions by successful medalling at the Royal Life Saving Society’s (RLSS) UK National Life Saving Championships year after year.
As a club, affiliated to the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS), Wantage Life Savers are committed to provide volunteer-led, community-based training to raise awareness of water safety to work to prevent drowning and encourage the education of water safety. Here in the Thames Valley alone, between 2012-2016, some 66 people have died through drowning – the highest number of which have been young men aged 20-29.
Our club works to deliver training and education for the public, schools, clubs and a range of organisations to seek to reduce this number of fatalities. We have been successful in providing tuition to our members and the public in the theoretical and practical skills required to be safe in and around water such as swimming pools, rivers, reservoirs, lakes, flooded gravel pits and canals – all of which are prevalent locally.
Wantage Life Savers train at Wantage Leisure Centre on a Sunday morning, 8-9am (in the pool) and on Mondays, 8-10pm (an hour theory/life support/CPR training prior to an hour in the pool).
As well as training for competitions, club members are RLSS qualified instructors who are able to teach and assess RLSS Life Saving qualification, NRASTC qualifications and Duke of Edinburgh modules. However, our primary aim is to provide our expertise in helping children and adults to gain confidence in, on or around water, to understand the risks and to know how to cope if you (or anyone else) gets in to difficulty in the water.
On a Monday evening we work toward lifesaving or life support qualifications. Summer Sunday will be run as drop-in sessions for the general public and prospective new club members to come and learn how to be Water Smart. Our nominal club rates are adults £5 / juniors £3 per session – which helps to cover the cost of hiring the pool. The first session is free for new/prospective members