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John Hayes, shipping minister, visits Hythe to announce £1m government grant for Kent lifeboat and rescue teams

By Matt Leclere

Funding for lifeboat charities in Kent has been announced by the government’s shipping minister on a visit to the county.

John Hayes MP met with volunteers from the Kent Search and Rescue (KSAR) team at the Redoubt Sailing Club in Palmarsh, near Hythe, yesterday.

He encouraged organisations to bid for the grant - worth a total of £1 million.

The government has announced a £1m grant available for lifeboat and lifesaving charities. Picture Department for Transport

The government has announced a £1m grant available for lifeboat and lifesaving charities. Picture: Department for Transport

KSAR received £16,000 from last year’s Inshore and Inland Lifeboat Grant Scheme which they used to buy two new power boats equipped with sonar and powerful search lights.

Mr Hayes announced the new round of the funding scheme which will help rescue services in communities throughout the country.

He said: “As an island nation, the safety of our coasts is vital, but it is imperative we value and support the lifesaving work that goes on every day by our dedicated local lifeboat and rescue boat services. Their commitment and skill keeps our rivers, lakes and inshore areas safe.

“Lives have been saved as a result of this scheme and these additional funds will ensure these tireless volunteers and charities can buy the equipment, training and other resources they need to provide round-the-clock lifesaving services.”

More than £1.7m has already been shared out to rescue crews over the last two years since its launch in 2014.

MP John Hayes gets measured up for his lifejacket. Picture Department for Transport

MP John Hayes gets measured up for his lifejacket. Picture: Department for Transport

It was created to support charities running lifeboat and rescue services which help on inland and inshore waterways.

Grants were secured for crews to buy equipment ranging from lifejackets, boats, safety gear and providing training and other costs to continue saving lives.

Groups have until October 20 to submit their bids to the Department for Transport which is running the scheme.

It is working in partnership with other bodies including the RNLI, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the Royal Yachting Association.

Find out more here on how to apply for funding under the 2016/17 scheme and eligibility requirements.

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