The Big Lottery in Wales feature RASS in National PR Campaign for Water Safety
The Big Lottery in Wales have last year funded River And Sea Sense with just under £5000.00 Recently they contacted us to feature the work of River And Sea Sense on a National basis on their websites and also to use RASS to launch their first Podcast in Wales. Says Debbie " I was so shocked but pleased we were offered this wonderful opportunity to promote our work" Please see story below x North Wales who lost her only child in a drowning accident is using a Big Lottery Fund grant to raise awareness about river and sea safety- just in time for the school holidays. Since then, Debbie has vowed to do everything in her power to prevent another family going through the same nightmare. Following the recent spell of bad weather and the loss of yet more lives on Welsh rivers this summer, Debbie is using a grant of nearly £5,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme to run a project which aims to educate more children about the dangers of playing in and around rivers. David Jones of International Rescue Training Centre Wales says: “Debbie has an extremely captivating manner and gets her message across in a powerful and influential way that these young people just don’t forget.” Debbie’s safety message to people this summer is clear: “Don’t let your children out of your sight and don’t underestimate the power of the water,” she says.
On August 14 2006, Debbie Turnbull from Llandudno lost her 15 year old son, Chris, in a drowning accident on the river Conwy, North Wales. Chris had been playing with friends and was completely unaware that he was swimming in a danger spot at Lligwy Falls in Capel Curig.
Since Chris’s death, Debbie set up her own organisation in Llandudno called River and Sea Sense, and speaks to thousands of children in schools across the country every year. And with the summer holidays on the horizon, the money from BIG will be used to promote river and sea safety by enabling more volunteers to make presentations to schools, youth groups, scouts and cadets in North Wales- predominantly in the Conwy area.
The project consists of a variety of water safety awareness courses coupled with lifesaving and emergency training. Level 1 is rolling out at present to primary age schoolchildren and the feedback is immense from parents, teachers and the young people according to Debbie.
Level 1 comprises of the group of twelve pupils being taken to an outdoor training centre where they are instructed by Swift Water Trainers on basic water safety awareness. They then have a session with Debbie as she tells her story and takes them on a ‘spot the dangers exercise’ to Aber Falls, which highlights many ‘what if’ scenarios. They also get to meet and see the rescue dogs in action and are shown how the emergency services work.
“There is nothing like this programme anywhere that brings both fun and education and ‘real life’ experience into the equation,” says Debbie.
“We will progress up to level 5 which we will then gain accreditation for and can offer the courses to colleges and any age group interested in whatever level.”
“The project will also include further educational slots regarding river safety and will include visits to specific areas of river danger spots and a tour of the Mountain Rescue Base HQ whenever possible.”
And this is certainly the most important time of the year to be educating families about safety around rivers according to Debbie, who has also developed the UK’s first ever water safety map, a pioneering online tool which highlights all the danger spots in rivers throughout the UK.
“With the schools about to break up for the summer holidays and due to the atrocious weather conditions we are experiencing at the moment, it’s even more prevalent that we discuss safety around rivers”, she explains.
“That’s the reason my son died. He went to Capel Curig with friends as he had been doing all year. We had a torrential downpour which created a waterfall. He was sucked into a whirlpool and his foot got trapped and he never came back up.”
“It’s been a terrible mental journey. It’s shock and it’s absolute horror when you are told the news. Unless people have lived through something like this, it’s impossible to imagine. There’s nothing worse than losing a child and that’s why I do what I do now. Chris was my best friend and absolute soul mate. He was my life.”
It was the loss of Chris which drove Debbie to set up River and Sea Sense: “I started this project three weeks after my son died and I’ve spoken to 62,000 children since then,” she says.
“From the talks I’ve given, it’s shocking the lack of knowledge people have about safety near water. Through this project and by educating people, I’m aiming to save as many lives as possible. The project justifies the way I feel, but I know it will never bring Chris back.”
“When I hear about people being swept away on the news now, it brings it all back to me. Every time I hear about another incident on TV or Radio, it’s like it was yesterday and I’m back in that place where I was.”
“If you are anywhere where there are mountains and a river this summer, what you need to be aware of is that it doesn’t matter how hot it is that day – the temperature of the river coming down from the mountain is as cold as your fridge at home. And that’s the easiest way of putting it. It’s completely different to the atmosphere outside. And people also need to realise that the river banks are being eroded, especially in these weather conditions, so they need to be very careful when they are walking on the river edge as the ground could be unstable and they could fall in. A year after my son died, another little boy died further downstream from where Chris drowned. He was just going for a walk with his mother and he slipped in and drowned. They saw him being swept away and there was nothing they could do.”
She added: “You also need to be aware of rip currents – because they literally rip your life away from you. You can also get trapped in rocks under the water, which is what happened to Chris.”
Encouraging more groups in Wales to apply for funding, Gareth Williams, Awards for All Programme Manager for the Big Lottery Fund in Wales, said: “This project is a prime example of how small amounts of money can make a big difference to the lives of people in communities most in need. That’s why we are urging more community groups and projects to take full advantage of and reap the rewards from this programme.”
He added: “Our message is simple - if a community group has an idea for a project which supports community activity, extends access and participation, increases skill and creativity or generally improves the quality of life of people in their area, then we definitely want to hear from them.”
For further information about the Awards for All programme and how you can apply, visit www.awardsforall.org.uk or call 0845 4 10 20 30.
For further information about River and Sea Sense and how you could benefit, visit www.riverandseasense.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org Debbie has also developed the national drowning and incident reporting system which can be accessed at www.watersafetymap.co.uk
BBC Capture Wales provided a programme whereby Debbie made her own short film which she wrote and produced and now shows this at all her presentations. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/arts/yourvideo/media/pages/debbie_turnbull_01.shtml
The Water Safety Code - Have Fun, Stay Safe
1. Spot the dangers
Whenever you’re near water always take extra care:
• Never fool around or run besides water – you might trip and fall in
• Take care on the riverbank – it may be slippery and can crumble
• Keep away from the edge of canals – the water is often very deep
• Beware of locks and weirs – the water flows very quickly
2. Take safety advice
To be safe, choose a swimming pool or beach where there are lifeguards:
• Always follow the advice of a lifeguard – find out where and when it is safe to swim
• Look for signs or flags which tell you if it is safe to swim
• Never swim where a sign or flag tells you not to
3. Do not go alone
If you’re alone there will be no-one to help you if you get into trouble in the water
• Never go swimming, fishing or boating on your own
• Go with a friend who can help you if you’re in trouble in difficult water – even if they cannot help you out, they can get help
• Always make sure a grown-up known where you are going and when you will be back
4. Learn how to help
If you see someone in trouble in the water, here’s how you can help:
• Keep calm – always think before you act
• Try to get help – shout “help, help” as loud as you can
• Reach out with a stick, a pole, a towel or clothing to pull the person to the water’s edge – always lie down when you are trying to pull someone in so that you don’t get pulled in
• If you can’t reach the person and no-one comes when you shout for help, telephone 999 or 112 and ask for help
NEVER JUMP INTO THE WATER YOURSELF!
Big Lottery Fund Press Office – Oswyn Hughes: 02920 678 207
Out of hours contact: 07760 171 431
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Public Enquiries Line: 0300 123 0735
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Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Notes to Editors
In Wales, the Big Lottery Fund is rolling out close to £100k a day in Lottery good cause money, which together with other Lottery distributors means that across Wales most people are within a few miles of a Lottery-funded project.
The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to Good Causes. As a result, over £28 billion has now been raised and more than 383,000 grants given out across the arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.
The Big Lottery in Wales have last year funded River And Sea Sense with just under £5000.00
Recently they contacted us to feature the work of River And Sea Sense on a National basis on their websites and also to use RASS to launch their first Podcast in Wales.
Says Debbie " I was so shocked but pleased we were offered this wonderful opportunity to promote our work"
Please see story below x
North Wales who lost her only child in a drowning accident is using a Big Lottery Fund grant to raise awareness about river and sea safety- just in time for the school holidays.
Since then, Debbie has vowed to do everything in her power to prevent another family going through the same nightmare. Following the recent spell of bad weather and the loss of yet more lives on Welsh rivers this summer, Debbie is using a grant of nearly £5,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme to run a project which aims to educate more children about the dangers of playing in and around rivers.
David Jones of International Rescue Training Centre Wales says: “Debbie has an extremely captivating manner and gets her message across in a powerful and influential way that these young people just don’t forget.”
Debbie’s safety message to people this summer is clear: “Don’t let your children out of your sight and don’t underestimate the power of the water,” she says.