Surf life saving club issues SOS

Fingal Rovers SLSC vice-president Mick Armstrong (left) and president Steven Kudzius have issued a call for more volunteers to join them in helping to keep our beaches safe.
Fingal Rovers SLSC vice-president Mick Armstrong (left) and president Steven Kudzius have issued a call for more volunteers to join them in helping to keep our beaches safe. David Carroll

FINGAL Rovers Surf Life Saving Club has issued a plea for help as a decline in member numbers threatens the future of the club.

Club president Steven Kudzius said unless the club was able to attract more active members it was at risk of disappearing.

"If we don't do anything it is a steady slope to the end,” he said.

"We won't be able to comply with surf life saving regulations. We need more members to be able to properly complete the patrols.”

The club currently has just 30 active members, well down on the 90 needed to staff the volunteer patrols.

Mr Kudzuis said due to the shortfall in numbers, the club had made the difficult decision to slash the traditional weekend patrols and only patrol the beach during school holidays and public holidays.

The decision comes after two drowning deaths at Fingal in the past 12 months but club vice-president Mick Armstrong said they also needed to protect the volunteers.

"We can only ask them to do so much,” he said.

"We're not going to let them burn out.”

SLSNSW Far North Coast Branch president Wilson Cregan admitted the decision to cut back on patrols was not ideal but said it was the only option currently available.

"Obviously this is far from satisfactory,” he said.

"The branch has been offering support and we have been talking with neighbouring clubs Cudgen and Salt to see what can be done to help but we need community involvement, we need more numbers on the sand.”

Mr Kudzius said the club had struggled to recruit and retain members in the years since the clubhouse was condemned in 2009.

"Traditionally our members come from further away, places like Murwillumbah and Brisbane, and they would come for the weekend so when we lost the facilities we lost the members,” he said.

"When the building was condemned we were working out of shipping container, we didn't have any toilets, the facilities were very ordinary.”

Renovation work on the clubhouse is nearing completion and it is now servicable with toilets, showers and bunkhouse complete.

"Hopefully now we can start attracting some more members,” Mr Kudzius said.

In a bid to boost the club's volunteer numbers, Mr Kudzius has launched a membership campaign via social media.

A video on Facebook detailing the club's plight has attracted more than 12,000 views and hundreds of likes and comments.

"We're getting lots of interest, now it's a matter of turning that into active members,” Mr Kudzius said.

People interested in assisting the Fingal Rovers SLSC can contact the club on 55242371 or visit their Facebook page.

Topics:  fingal rovers surf life saving club membership campaign steven kudzius surf life saving nsw

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