BP raises $459,050 for Surf Life Saving New Zealand
BP raises almost half a million dollars to mark 50-year partnership with Surf Life Saving New Zealand
BP’s Every Litre Counts campaign has raised an additional $459,050 for Surf Life Saving New Zealand following a month-long initiative which saw a portion of every litre of fuel sold at BP sites nationwide donated to the charity.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand has today announced how the organisation and its 74 clubs nationwide are using the funds from Every Litre Counts for training and preparation for this upcoming summer.
The campaign marked 50 years since BP began its support of Surf Life Saving New Zealand in 1968, believed to be New Zealand’s longest unbroken corporate partnership.
BP New Zealand’s Managing Director, Debi Boffa, says, “We are so proud to partner with a charity which saves thousands of lives on New Zealand beaches each year. Fifty years is a significant milestone and Every Litre Counts was our way to say thank you for having our backs. The response from the New Zealand public who took part in the campaign was incredible; we couldn’t have done it without them.”
In the last 50 years, more than 55,000 lives have been saved with 22,000 of those rescues conducted using a BP Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB). Last summer alone, BP IRBs helped volunteer lifeguards conduct 330 searches at beaches across New Zealand.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand CEO, Paul Dalton, says, “Our association with BP started in the wake of the Wahine tragedy and since then has become invaluable to us. Our funding sources are largely short term and determined year-to-year, which puts us at a huge risk. We break-even at best. We start each new year with no money and need to find nine to ten million dollars just to run our organisation and keep New Zealand beaches safe. If we can begin the summer with money from a partner like BP, that makes such a difference.”
A portion of the total donation, which was given on top of BP’s annual contribution, has already been distributed directly to clubs to help with purchasing equipment, first aid training, and to assist with running costs. From this, eight clubs won $10,000 each and a year’s worth of BP fuel for a club member. Additionally, $500 of BP fuel vouchers were distributed to 35 clubs and signage and flags for all 74 surf clubs was replaced and refreshed.
“We may have our biggest profile in summer, but most of our work is happening now, during the winter months. We’re training 1,000 new lifeguards each year, replacing and repairing equipment, fundraising and planning for the upcoming summer months. The donation couldn’t have come at a better time,” says Dalton.
SLSNZ will use the remainder of the donation to keep the organisation running smoothly and introduce new initiatives, such as setting up online training for IRB crewman and drivers to support the training and upskilling of new and experienced lifeguards each year.
“To the people of New Zealand who have taken part in the Every Litre Counts campaign, I’d like to say a huge thanks. It might not seem a lot at the time, but every little amount collectively adds up to a huge amount. It’s certainly going to make our beaches safer in the coming years,” says Dalton.
The eight SLSNZ clubs that won $10,000 from the Every Litre Counts campaign which ran from 22 January to 18 February this summer are:
• Waipu Club, Whangarei
• Sunset Beach Club, Port Waikato
• Waihi Club, Hauraki District
• Waikanae Club, Gisborne
• Opunake Club, Taranaki
• Otaki Club, Kapiti Coast
• Worser Club, Wellington
• Kotuku Club, Greymouth
About the 50-year BP and Surf Life Saving partnership:
The partnership between BP and SLSNZ began shortly after the 1968 Wahine disaster. Prior to that, BP's predecessor, Europa, sponsored a surf boat at Worser Bay Surf Life Saving Club called 'Miss Europa'. This boat was used by brave clubbies in horrendous conditions to save some of the 683 passengers and crew that were rescued from the Wahine. The Europa staff were so impressed by the actions of these clubbies that a nationwide sponsorship began shortly after this, evolving into the celebrated partnership it is today.
The Every Litre Counts donation was made in addition to BP’s sponsorship to Surf Life Saving New Zealand which includes an annual donation, a new Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) donated to one club each year (valued at $25,000), and an annual contribution of $500 worth of fuel for every Surf Life Saving club around the country. BP has also launched the BP Leaders for Life programme which is designed to provide lifeguards with a variety of important skills including conflict resolution and leadership skills that can be taken back and applied to their communities and clubs.