At 8am today, the Fingal Rovers SLSC had a bunch of tradies and another turn up on their doorstep with the Tooheys New Crew to complete the renovations to the clubhouse that have virtually stopped many of the activities of the organisation.
Currently in its 80th year, the club has 37 active patrol members and 20 nippers and they could do with a few more. Club president Robyn Wonson says that ‘living’ out of two shipping containers as has been the case and not have a real home for the club has had an effect on numbers. ‘We have been working tirelessly since 2008 to have the building renovated,’ says Robyn. ‘Because of funding and other requirements, it has taken us longer than expected and the aim was to have the building fully completed by now, but our funding sources have run out at present to fully complete the renovation.’ Robyn says that the club has been working with the builders and divided the project into two stages. ‘The section we are working on now with the builder and the Tooheys New Crew will be ready for our members by this weekend; we will be back into at least half of the building.’
Robyn says that having the Crew help out means the world to the small club. She says it has given them the opportunity to have the internal fit-out done so they can get their vital rescue equipment back to the beach, so they will be able to provide a full call-out service to the local community. It will also mean that the members will have a place to come together; the club will have a strong focus on members’ welfare in the future. ‘It brings mateship and a sense of belonging. It will also assist by becoming more sustainable with raising funds: having the facilities available to members and guests to hire for functions or for other community groups or sporting groups to come and use it will bring us together. As the club has a large active membership base from outside the area it will mean that the members who travel to Fingal will have the bunk rooms back and will be able to come down and stay instead of having a lot of driving to and from in one day.’
Robyn says that the club is more of a lifesaving-orientated club than a competitive one, but they do participate in SLSC events. ‘We haven’t promoted ourselves as a strong competitive club; it’s always had a more of a lifesaving focus. In the past we have competed and been more of a winter competition club, attending IRB carnivals, which are predominately over winter so the IRBs can still be in patrol over summer. We do have some of our younger members wanting to compete this year in beach and water events. We are hosting the branch championships in February and we will have a junior and senior team for that event.’
The Fingal Rovers SLSC is the oldest club in the Tweed and has a small but devoted membership who come from the village but also from the Tweed area and as far away as Brisbane. ‘We are celebrating our 80th anniversary next year and we all want to ensure that we are sustainable for the next 80 years. This is a great place to come and hang out at and we enjoy meeting new people and including them into our lifesaving fraternity.
Robyn says that the club is really looking to welcome new members. ‘We are always looking for members and recruiting active patrolling members to boost our numbers on patrols so we can reduce the number of patrols our members will have to do. This is really important to the growth of the club. We have great members now but need more people to come involved. We have wonderful new facilities, we provide a great lifesaving environment, we have great members, and we are like a family.’
For more information about the club and how to join, visit their website at www.fingalroversslsc.com.au.