Training packages for Reddingsbrigade Nederland : Sport and saving lives go hand in hand

Playing sports and getting exercise isn't just fun, it's also good for you and contributes to better health. Practitioners of lifesaving sport – the name kind of gives it away – take things one step further. They (almost) literally save lives while practicing their sport. And the Schiphol Fund is pleased to be able to help them do that.

To avoid any misunderstandings: actually saving a person from drowning is of course not part of livesaving sport. But that is the idea behind it. 'Lifesaving sport is based on the skills that rescue swimmers must master in order to rescue people,' Marc van Welsem, fundraiser and relations manager at Reddingsbrigade Nederland, explains.

Making a sport out of it

Like with any sport, these skills need to be developed, maintained and improved. And what better way to do that than making a sport out of it and competing? That's how lifesaving sport came about. The sport consists of several components that take place in the swimming pool, on the beach and on or in the sea, and that are performed in teams or individually. Just like how saving lives also occurs in differents kinds of conditions and in a variety of places.

International Olympic Committee recognition

Lifesaving sport is practiced under the under the banner of Reddingsbrigade Nederland. This is the umbrella organisation of all 150 rescue brigades in the country, nineteen of which are located within the area where the Schiphol Fund is operational. In total, there are a couple of hundred practitioners of the sport in the Netherlands. ‘Around forty of them are in the professional team that competes in European and international competitions. We are not yet an Olympic sport, but we are recognised by both the NOC*NSF and the International Olympic Committee.’

Drawing more attention to the sport

There’s enough enthusiasm, but awareness among the general public is lagging behind. Fortunately, the Schiphol Fund wanted to lend a helping hand by way of a donation. ‘We’ve put part of the donation towards putting together packages with materials for clubs already practicing the sport and who want these things but don’t have the means to buy them. The rest is being used to devise a plan to draw more attention to the sport.’

The knife cuts both ways

And the great thing is that it turns out the knife cuts both ways. ‘On the one hand, people can get to know their local rescue brigade in a different way, and they can see that we don’t just rescue people but that it’s also a sport they can partake in. On the other hand, we see that people are finding out about the rescue brigade this way and then want to become a volunteer.’

Positive reception

It's a win-win situation. The donation was therefore greatly appreciated. 'Yes, it was very well received. Our members were very happy. Every day you read in the papers about how important it is to get exercise and stay fit. It's great that the Schiphol Fund considers this a top priority and that, by making it easy to apply, they promote it. Proof that a small contribution can have a big impact.'

In March 2022, Reddingsbrigade Nederland received a donation of € 3,000 to put together training packages for lifesaving sport.

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