Brighton & Hove Labour Council look to partner with the RNLI to deliver city’s lifeguard service

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Brighton & Hove’s Labour Council are exploring options for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) to take on management of the city’s lifeguard service from Summer 2025.

In May 2023, when Labour took control of the administration of the Council, they immediately reversed plans by the previous Green administration to cut the lifeguard service. A rapid recruitment drive then took place to ensure there were enough lifeguards stationed on the seafront for the city’s busy summer season last year.

The Labour Council have committed to protecting the service from future cuts and have been exploring alternative options to deliver it. Following a review of how lifeguard services are run in other parts of the country and with Brighton & Hove’s uniqueness as a tourist destination in mind, an option is now being put forward to partner with much-loved charity the RNLI during the summer months to ensure additional revenue can be brought in to maintain the service.

Councillors will be asked to approve the proposal at a meeting of the Culture, Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Economic Development Committee meeting on Thursday 18 April.

Councillor Alan Robins, chair of the Culture, Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Economic Development Committee said: “Lifeguards play a vital role, and it is essential that they are well-trained, well-supported and well-resourced. In the last year alone, the council’s lifeguard team saved 21 lives and reunited 50 missing people on the seafront.

“As Councils up and down the country are being forced to make difficult budget decisions, lifeguards could disappear from beaches. In Brighton & Hove we will make sure this does not happen on our watch.

“By exploring how our lifeguards could be managed differently, we can ensure this vital service will continue be provided so residents and visitors can continue to enjoy our beaches safely for years to come.”

Council Leader, Bella Sankey said: “Brighton & Hove is proudly a tourist destination, with millions of people flocking to our city each year, particularly during the summer months, with many heading to our beautiful coastline.

“Sea safety has always been our primary consideration when looking at options for the lifeguard service, so we’re delighted to be looking at options to partner with RNLI, who have so much expertise in the area of sea safety.

“The previous Green administration proposed a potentially dangerous cut to the lifeguard service of £100,000 which would have seriously reduced the service and the number of lifeguards on our seafront.

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“We urgently reversed this decision and have ringfenced funding going forward to ensure the service is protected from cuts. Our Labour council is committed to always maintaining this service in sufficient numbers, whether that be in-house or in partnership with other organisations.”

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