This update was provided by Gerard O’Brien, President, Surf Life Saving Qld, Sunshine Coast Branch. The Branch has the task of
re-establishing the Peregian Beach Surf Life Saving Club. This is the first of what we can expect will be a quarterly update following each Advisory Board meeting.
The end of 2020 marks the approximate halfway mark in the 3-year program set out to re-establish an independent, community-based Surf Lifesaving Club at Peregian Beach (PBSLSC). It is therefore an appropriate time to provide the broader Peregian community with an update on progress so far and future plans. Clearly , the ongoing COVID crisis of 2020 has had some major impacts on the project.
The impact of Covid on:
a) Recruitment, Training and Patrol strength
The 2019/20 surf lifesaving season was cut short early in 2020 and all associated lifesaving activities shutdown for much of the year. This included critical recruitment and training activities which had a detrimental, yet hopefully short-lived, impact in rebuilding volunteer patrolling strength at Peregian Beach.
With a degree of normality returning at the end of 2020, signs are now positive with a number of new bronze medallion members completing their training in November and December along with a strong group of around 20, mostly comprised of Nipper parents, scheduled for training early in 2021. However, patrol numbers are behind our original strategic plan and hopefully we can catch up over the course of this season and into the 2021/22 season.
As with Lifesaving, Nippers were also prematurely shutdown in early 2020 and the current 2020/21season now significantly impacted by COVID protocols . Peregian Beach Nipper numbers were accordingly reduced from around 180 in 2019/20 to around 160 this season which further restricted our lifesaving recruitment pool. Plans are in place to build the program back towards 200 next season and start to expand the competitive and other opportunities available at the Club for Nippers and importantly for the youth we can retain beyond Nippers.
From a financial perspective, Peregian Beach lifesaving was also substantially impacted in 2020. The Peregian Beach Markets were closed down early in the crisis, not to re-open until November and then, only under significant COVID restri ctions. The good news is that the re-commencement of the Markets has proceeded smoothly with positive feedback received on community and commercial engagement. While numbers remain well down on prior year (primarily due to the increased spacing), there are good signs that the Markets remain as popular as ever and commercial returns will progressively improve . Noosa Council is said to be reviewing the current restrictions in February 2021. The Market revenue will remain a primary source of income for the fledgling Club .
d) Social Activities
The new Club was also enjoying some success last season in rejuvenating the social aspect at the Club with Club Nights and other Social gatherings. Once again, COVID disrupted these events, however, the local community and surf lifesaving spirit will no doubt see these events resume in the near future with great success. We strongly encourage local community members to support our events as the task of building a new Club in such a short timeframe is both large and ambitious.
Use of the Upstairs facility:
Much work has also been done in determining the most appropriate and beneficial use of the Upstairs facility at the Clubhouse. Clearly , COVID disrupted the original plans for hiring out the space as a short-term measure and it remains an under-utilised asset at the current time. However, a new “hire-out” structure is almost finalised to make the space available to community, social and other groups to improve utilisation for the balance of the Council permit period. Details on how to make bookings will be circulated widely across the community in early February.
There has also been much consideration of the longer-term options for the facility to both maximise the financial benefit to the new Club as well as enhance the social opportunities for Club-members while embracing the best outcomes for the local community and neighbourhood. There is much more work to do here and no decisions have been made. Certainly, this will be key consideration for the elected Directors of the new Club(s) once these are in place (see further details below).
Current Governance Arrangements
From a governance perspective, at this time, Peregian Beach surf lifesaving still remains a part of the Noosa Heads Surf Life Saving Club (NHSLSC). NHSLSC is the signatory of the Patrol Services Agreement (PSA) with Noosa Council and Surf Lifesaving Sunshine Coast (SLSSC) and will remain so for the balance of this season (2020/21) and all of next (2021/22). The plan, at this stage, remains to have the new PBSLSC take over responsibility for the PSA at Peregian Beach in it’s own right from the commencement of the 2022/23 season. However, this position remains highly contingent on the capability and capacity of the new Club at that time and will require the approval of Noosa Council , SLSSC and Surf Lifesaving Queensland (SLSQ). So, there are still many hurdles to overcome and the absolute imperative for all those involved is the safety of all beach-goers at Peregian Beach, a point on which none of those stakeholders will compromise.
The development of the new Club is being managed under the guidance of both the Peregian Beach Advisory Board (comprised of representatives of both SLSSC and SLSQ as well as representatives of various Peregian Community Associations and other interested/specialist parties) and the Peregian Beach Working Group (comprised of Peregian based NHSLSC members with an active interest in the re-establishment of an independent Club).
Future Governance Arrangements
From a legal perspective, the establishment of the new Club is being managed by SLSSC and SLSQ and will likely take the form of two separate legal entities: Peregian Beach SLSC (a DGR-designated charity that will oversee all lifesaving activities, including volunteer patrols, Nippers and training); and the Peregian Beach Surf Lifesaving Supporters Club (a commercial entity specifically established to raise funds to support the PBSLSC). The constitutions of both entities will be fairly standard Surf Lifesaving documents which provide for the overall control of the entities by the respective local Lifesaving members within the constraints established by the Surf Lifesaving governing bodies.
However, in response to community feedback, the Supporter’s Club Constitution also provides specifically for a class of Community Membership and also removes the standard gambling licence clause in line with the present Council Permit . Community membership is a vehicle for members of the community who may be unable to contribute at an operational surf lifesaving level to show their support for the new Club , both financially and socially. The expected structure of the entities is illustrated in the attached chart.
The plan currently envisages the formal establishment of both new entities during the surf lifesaving off -season and prior to the start of the 2021/22 season. This will be one full year prior to the new Club taking on responsibility for the PSA. It is anticipated that the existing PB Working Group will form the basis of the elected
officers of the new PBSLSC. All Peregian-based members of NHSLSC will become dual members of both the new PBSLSC and NHSLSC for the course of the 2021/22 season (with NHSLSC still accepting legal responsibility for the PSA). This crossover year provides the new PBSLSC Directors/Officers time to put in place more formal structures and processes for the new Club, work that is already well underway within the PB Working Group.
Further, once the Supporters Club is established, there will be a call for nominations of community-members with a specialist skillset or background (eg financial management, fundraising, promotional venue management, etc) to fill two Director roles to help further develop the new Club over the years ahead.
How you can help to make the PBSLC and Supporters Club a success now:
a) become a volunteer surf lifesaver
b) become a volunteer radio operator or other supporting Award holder (which doesn’t involve the full physical requirement of a bronze medallion)
c) help with the Nipper program, including volunteering for the BBQ roster
d) help with fundraising
e) support social events
Best contact details for any of these opportunities are via the Facebook page (Peregian Beach Surf Life Saving Club) or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
and in the future:
a) become a “Community Member” of the Supporters Club (at an annual financial contribution yet to be specified, but at least as much as lifesaving membership)
b) if you have a relevant specialist skillset or background, consider nominating for the Community-based Director positions on the Supporters Club Board
c) become a social member (at a minimal cost)
Surf Lifesaving Queensland
Sunshine Coast Branch