Over the past two years, I have been working on a campaign to establish an organisation to support and represent the UK's independent lifeboats. I am therefore delighted that the National Independent Lifeboat Association (NILA) was launched in September 2022 with the support of fellow MPs, Ministers and relevant Government departments. I am proud to be the charity's Honorary President, and will continue to work with the management committee to ensure our independent lifeboats receive the recognition and support they deserve.
Find out more about NILA here: https://nila.org.uk/
The idea for NILA came about after I visited Hope Cove Lifeboat in summer 2020 and learnt about their essential work as well as the challenges presented by the pandemic.
In the two years that followed this visit, I have:
- Continued to support Hope Cove Lifeboat including further meetings.
- Successfully founded the National Independent Lifeboat Association (NILA), of which I am Honorary President.
- Held a parliamentary event to celebrate the launch of NILA.
- Written to and met with Ministers to discuss support for lifeboats (both independent and RNLI).
- Held a Westminster Hall debate on the future of lifeboats.
- Engaged with all MPs with an independent lifeboat in their constituency.
- Met with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to discuss how communication with independent lifeboats can be improved.
- Met with the RNLI and visited local RNLI crews to learn more about their valuable work, and to discuss the relationship with independent lifeboats.
I am also a firm supporter of the RNLI and have visited lifeboat stations and met with the Chief Executive to learn more and discuss support for the organisation.