Cullercoats Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has received a special award in recognition of the training and educational opportunities that it provides for its volunteers.

The charity’s lifeboat station in Cullercoats recently received an NIACE Adult Learners’ Week Northern Region Employer Award, after being nominated by a volunteer crewmember’s mother.

Kay Heslop’s daughter Anna is part of the crew and after observing the valuable skills that she has developed during her training, Kay put the station forward for the award.

Kay and Anna Heslop attended a regional awards ceremony on Friday 5 June at Leeds Civic Hall to collect the award on behalf of Cullercoats RNLI. They were accompanied by Stephen Wood, President of the Leeds RNLI Business Branch.

The Award was presented by Louise Morritt from the One Awards, who had sponsored the Employer Award in the Northern Region.

The NIACE (The National Voice for Lifelong Learning) is an educational charity in England and Wales which is dedicated to providing and supporting adult learning opportunities.

Adult Learners’ Week is in its 24th year and this year it received over 1000 nominations for its four main award categories. The employer award was one of these categories.

Kay Heslop explained why she nominated Cullercoats RNLI: ‘Every member of the volunteer crew must undergo a rigorous programme of training and development and sustain their learning and fitness. Not only do members need to have the practical skills to manage and maintain equipment, but they must develop their knowledge of safety, effective communication and rescue strategies.

‘The training that the crewmembers receive is second to none. Over the past year my daughter has been able to learn and apply new skills, growing in her role as a probationer crewmember. Cullercoats RNLI has motivated her to be an independent and reliable young adult and has taught her crucial life skills as well as nurturing a sense of community and support for others.’

Anna Heslop added: ‘It was a real honour to attend the awards and collect the employer award on behalf of Cullercoats RNLI. The station is a very deserving winner and it was great to see them recognised in this way.

‘I view my fellow crewmembers as my extended family. They’re committed and courageous as well as being supportive and encouraging. They each have their own work commitments but still find time to dedicate their time to serving others. I’m really proud to belong to such a dedicated team.’

Frank Taylor, Cullercoats RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said: ‘I’m delighted Cullercoats lifeboat station has received this special award. I must thank Kay Heslop for nominating us and the NIACE Adult Leaners’ Week for recognising us in this way