At Pett Level Independent Rescue Boat, our volunteers maintain an on-call service 24/7, ready to respond when tasked to issues along the coastline. 

And although we haven’t been able to gather together as a group to carry out our other activities, such as fundraising, committee and trustee work, community support has remained close to our hearts …

Community volunteering during lockdown

So several of our volunteers have been quietly – and individually – supporting other community causes over the last three months.

Take Kev (photo above), our Launch Vehicle volunteer, who explains his motivation for community volunteering and the groups he’s been helping:

“I spent most of my working life in crown service, army and Prison Service, so when this virus hit our shores I felt that I needed to contribute in some way other than supporting my wife who is an A&E Sister. I first signed up to NHS Responders for buddy chats and medicine delivery but, as I only had one call to volunteer, I decided to look for other ways to contribute.

So I also joined Team Rubicon UK, a veteran-based international volunteer service. They’d just started Op-React in response to the pandemic. However, most jobs aren’t in my area so I found a volunteer motorcycle group, Volunteer Riders UK. This group transports vital PPE around the country by bike, quite often via complicated relays from one end of the UK to the other. I’ve now completed my first job collecting and delivering scrubs from one volunteer to another in Kent.”

Other PLIRB volunteers are also carrying out roles in the community.

Three of our volunteers joined the local arms of the Rye Mutual Aid group, delivering medication and shopping to local residents in Pett, Winchelsea and Winchelsea Beach. This support has been ongoing since the early weeks of the crisis and continues, as John’s photo shows!

Two of our team members also volunteer with the NHS Volunteer Responders and GoodSam, delivering medication in Fairlight and other local communities.

Another of our team has also responded to the call for additional workers in retail, and is now working temporarily as a delivery driver for a well-known supermarket.

Looking out and looking ahead

So, whilst you’re not seeing our familiar faces down at the boathouse, please be assured we’re very much around and looking out for our communities. And of courrse, we’re also looking ahead to when we’ll be able to resume our own full services in the local area.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in any of the groups we’ve mentioned, please see below:

  • If you would like to receive help or volunteer for Rye Mutual Aid, you can visit the Rye Mutual Aid website or contact them direct on Facebook.
  • If you’re a veteran and would like to be involved with Re:Act, there’s plenty of information on the Team Rubicon website.
  • Similarly, if you have a motorbike and want to get involved, check out the Volunteer Riders UK group on Facebook.

Finally, if you are a local resident and need some help, Rye News recently published a useful Services Offered page, with links to various community groups and services. Rye News also has a separate page with more information and contact numbers for all the groups (including Pett) which are part of Rye Mutual Aid.