Staff axed at RNLI branch

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A CHARITY has closed its regional office in Hadleigh and made two staff redundant, writes Anne Wise.

The East Anglia regional office of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) in Magdalen Road has closed its doors to save the charity money.

Regional spokesman Tim Ash said the RNLI had undergone a wide-ranging restructuring process, which had resulted in two regional offices, including Hadleigh, merging with its London branch.

The Hadleigh branch dealt with administration and fundraising for Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.

“The decision was part of a larger restructure of the RNLI’s community fundraising function,” said Mr Ash.

“Following feedback, we decided to remove the fundraising administration function from seven old regional offices and replace them with specialist, telephone-based support teams located in Perth, Dublin and London.

“Given that less than five per cent of branch volunteers visited RNLI offices, and the RNLI was able to save £40,000 per year by closing some offices, it means more of our funds can be used for our main purpose – ending the preventable loss of life at sea.”

Hadleigh branch publicity secretary John Baxter said: “The RNLI has to ensure it makes the absolute best use of the funds the charity raises.

“As a result, this office has now closed and all fundraising staff will work in a slightly different way than before. 

“The Hadleigh branch is still very active and has a wide range of fundraising activities planned for the rest of this year.”

He said street collections in Hadleigh would start from May 21, while a “Brew for the Crew” event will take place in the town on June 16 with a bring-and-buy stall, book stall, souvenirs and gift stall and music with tea and refreshments.

“We are developing plans for events in the second half of the year and, although Hadleigh is not on the sea and has no direct sea faring tradition, we know that there are many people in the area who have an interest in the sea and boats,” added Mr Baxter.

He urged anyone interested in working with the branch to contact its chairman, Catherine Bailey, at hadleigh.rnli@btinternet.com or call 01473 823570.