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Pilot scheme to ensure safe seaside visits

Published Wednesday, 19th February 2020

Volunteer beach welfare officers standing in a meeting room

Training has begun for volunteers willing to spend their summer holiday weekends making Southend-on-Sea beach a safer place for visitors.

It is a pilot project to have volunteer Beach Welfare Officers on hand to offer reassurance to residents, day trippers and holiday-makers by dealing with missing children, lost property, water based incidents and basic first aid.

The volunteers, who are also members of Chalkwell Redcaps surf life saving club, met on Saturday 15 February to discuss protocol and procedures regarding emergency situations, public engagement, radio communications and CCTV.

Cllr Martin Terry, cabinet member for community safety and customer care, said: “The warmer weather attracts visitors to the seaside, but having large numbers of people arriving in one area can increase demand on our services. This scheme will hopefully help us manage those more minor issues and ease pressure on other services, such as the Community Safety Patrol Team, the Coastguard, the ambulance service and Essex Police.”

The pilot is due to begin on the Easter bank holiday weekend and will also take place over the two May bank holidays. If successful, the scheme will be extended across the summer holiday months and on weekends when hot weather is predicted.

Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, added: “As a seaside town Southend-on-Sea has a booming tourist industry and I’m thankful to the volunteers for taking the time to carry out this pilot. It shows we are doing all we can to help residents and visitors feel safe and well whilst they are in Southend-on-Sea.”