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Enjoy lockdown easing, but be water aware!

AS the current Covid19 restrictions ease, it is anticipated many people will head to coastal locations and inland water beauty spots, few people would think they might become a water incident statistic. But the fact is in the UK in 2019, more people died from accidental drowning than cyclists did on the road. The National Fire Chiefs Council's (NFCC) Be Water Aware campaign has been running from:- 26 April to 2nd May 2021. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is taking part and encouraging people not to be complacent when spending time in and around water. The aim is to encourage people to be safe by being aware of the risks.  Following simple advice will help reduce the 223 accidental drownings reported in 2019 and the many more injuries, which can be life changing, following water related incidents.

Top water safety advice includes:-

Never swim alone in case you need help.

Don't drink alcohol when undertaking water related activities; it impairs judgement and your ability to swim.

Avoid walking routes near water if you have been drinking alcohol.

Don't dive or jump straight into open water, this can cause potentially fatal cold water shock even on the warmest day.

Actively supervise children in and around water; drowning can happen fast and silently.

If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, don't panic; extend your arms and legs out and float on your back until the effects of cold water shock pass.

Never enter the water to try to rescue someone; call:- 999 and ask for the Fire Service if inland and the Coastguard if you are at the coast.

Paul McGuiness, Watch Manager for Arson and Water Safety at MFRS, said:- "As lockdown eases and the weather warms up, more people are likely to take risks around water. In Merseyside, we have the river, the beach and canals, all of which involve dangers such as mud flats and strong tides. We want people to have fun, but it is vital they do so safely. Please ensure you follow the water safety tips above when you are out and about near water."

Each year, MFRS carry out a number of rescues from mud flats in our Region. In January 2021, MFRS used a rescue sled to help free two people from mud flats on Crosby beach and in February, MFRS joined a multi agency team in the rescue of 2 individuals who were stuck in mud near a sailing club, in Thurstaston. If you are visiting a Merseyside beach, make sure you are aware of tide times and take a mobile phone. If you do become stuck in mud, try not to panic, spread your weight as much as possible and call:- 999.

NFCC's Drowning Prevention Lead Dawn Whittaker said:- "We want people to enjoy spending time in and around water safely and that's why we are asking people to be water aware. By highlighting this issue and making sure simple safety messages reach them, we hope to reduce the number of these needless and preventable deaths."

₤4 million fund available for Merseyside grassroots sports clubs and organisations

GRASSROOTS sports clubs and organisations in Merseyside can apply for grants to help them bounce back from the Pandemic, through Made By Sport's:- 'Clubs in Crisis' fund. Made By Sport, a charity which champions the power of sport to tackle social issues, is distributing over ₤4 million of grants to support the vital role that grassroots sports clubs and organisations play in communities.

Recent research indicates that 25% of community clubs may not be able to reopen due to the devastating impact of Covid19. In an attempt to prevent this becoming a reality, Made By Sport are offering unrestricted grants of ₤2021 to those groups who do so much in communities to use sport as a vehicle for social good.

The Pandemic has exacerbated many health and social issues. Research from mental health charity Young Minds found that 83% of young people said the Pandemic had affected their mental health, reporting issues with:- sleep, panic attacks and urges to self harm.

In the face of these crises, sport is a vital tool to transform people's lives. As well as helping to overcome mental health challenges, it is also a way to tackle important social issues, such as reducing crime and anti social behaviour, increasing life and employment skills and opportunities. It also brings communities together and it is estimated that for every ₤1 invested in sport and recreation, there is a ₤4.34 return on savings in money spent on crime, truancy and ill health.

The #ClubsinCrisis fund, supported by the Cash4Clubs scheme, is now accepting applications and Sophie Mason, Made By Sport's Chief Executive, urged clubs to apply. She said:- "We're delighted to be able to provide ₤4 million worth of grants through our #ClubsinCrisis fund. With sport returning, now is the time to invest in grassroots sports and give our young people the best opportunity to thrive. Access to sport will provide them with more confidence, more resilience and better mental and physical health. We believe funders and policy makers should consider sport in a different context and Made By Sport will continue to lead the way in redefining what community sport can do as part of the national rebuild. Now more than ever, sport has a big role in reinvigorating communities and supporting young people post Pandemic."

In order to be eligible, clubs must provide clear evidence of how they use sport to help young people develop life skills, employment opportunities, reduce crime and anti social behaviour or tackle mental health issues.
To apply for funding for your club, visit:-

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