Surf Life Saving Australia represents the largest volunteer movement of its kind in the world and Life Saving Victoria’s 32,000 volunteer members, from 57 affiliated lifesaving clubs, have had their lives made that much easier this season thanks to the Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability (ESVS) grant, received last year from the state government.
“Volunteers generously give their time to their life saving club because of a passion for what we do, but we’re always mindful of what they are giving up in their personal and work lives to assist,” says David Rylance, Director of Training and Assessment at LSV, himself a volunteer in the role. “That’s why the ESVS grant is so appreciated and why we’ve used it to cut down the administrative burden on our volunteers, so they can focus on the job they love.”
An example of one of the ways the ESVS grant has been used is on the purchase of an iPad for every life saving club within Victoria. Each iPad included the recently-developed training and assessing app, specifically designed to capture all training and assessment evidence in an online platform.
The app features a self-validating function, which ensures that all information captured on the app is correct prior to submission upload, reducing the number of incorrect evidence submissions with a subsequent reduction of administration burden on volunteers.
“The feedback has been positive from clubs who have used the training and assessment app,” says Dean Hemburrow, LSV’s manager of volunteer member training. “Through the grants we were also able to provide each active trainer and assessor with new uniforms to conduct their volunteer activities on the beach, while recognising the contribution that dedicated volunteers provide other members, and lifesaving in general.”
The new uniforms offer protection for the varying weather conditions presented in Victoria and were allocated to volunteer trainer and assessors at each club.
LSV clubs and state-wide projects have received over $1.7 million funding in the first round of the Victorian Government’s $15 million ESVS Grants Program, which is differs to the Victorian Emergency Services Equipment Program Grants.
The ESVS program provides funding to volunteers, brigades, units and clubs from volunteer emergency service organisations, including LSV, for equipment and projects including operational equipment, facility improvements, training and development and community education.
Other projects funded by the ESVS grants include operational equipment and facility works at 13th Beach SLSC, an operational inflatable rescue boat and motor at Cape Paterson SLSC and the purchase of rescue boards and mannequins for operations and training at Elwood LSC.
As part of the #weworkasone initiative, volunteer emergency services workers have been coming together at various events over summer, including a special emergency services themed Big Bash cricket event at the MCG and walking together at the Midsumma Festival Pride March.
LSV President Tom Mollenkopf says that the ESVS program has enabled a number of projects, facility upgrades and equipment purchases, which will greatly enhance the ability for LSV’s 32,000 volunteers to deliver vital beach patrol and water safety education services.
“On behalf of LSV and all Victorian lifesaving clubs, I’d like to thank the Victorian Government for making these projects possible,” says Tom. “We’ve had 544 rescues and 95,680 preventive actions performed at our patrolled beach locations this summer (to 13th February). The grants are helping us to help the almost 100,000 people who have attended our patrolled beach locations over that time.”
Do you need more information? Learn more about our volunteer program and become a member of LSV.
For further information about the ESVS program and to view a full list of successful projects, see the program website: www.emv.vic.gov.au/esvsgrants