Work is now underway to build a new Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) station at Blyth.
The £700,000 building will replace the existing RNLI lifeboat station on the Quayside and will provide more spacious and up-to-date facilities for the volunteer lifeboat crew.
Contractors are currently working on the building’s sub-structure, with construction due to start in the summer. The charity hopes the lifeboat station will be completed by next April.
The two storey building will include a crew training and meeting room, changing facilities, an office, workshop and an RNLI shop as well as space to house Blyth’s D class inshore lifeboat, Alan and Amy.
Currently, the volunteer crew are based in a small single-storey building which dates back to the 1920s, while the lifeboat is housed in an adjacent garage and needs to be moved to its launch site by a quadbike.
The new building is directly opposite the davit used to launch the lifeboat into the harbour and so the lifeboat can be manoeuvred straight out of the station to the launch site by hand.
Andy Clift, RNLI Divisional Inspector, North, said the new building will improve operational and training facilities for the RNLI’s volunteers in Blyth.
He added: ‘We have a crew of very dedicated RNLI volunteers in Blyth and in return for their commitment to saving lives at sea, our charity has a duty to provide them with appropriate facilities to ensure they can carry out their role as effectively as possible. The new lifeboat station will bring everything they need under one roof, with better training, changing and other operational facilities, improved housing for the lifeboat and a purpose-built RNLI shop.’
The station will be a steel-framed construction with masonry block external walls at ground level and European larch cladding on three sides of the first floor. It has been designed by Northumberland architects David and Jane Darcy.
John Scott, Blyth RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, said everyone involved with the RNLI in Blyth was very much looking forward to the completion of their new station.
He said: ‘The work is going to take some time but there should be minimum disruption as we will stay in our current building until the new station is finished. The RNLI has been operating in Blyth for almost 150 years and this station will provide us with a home for many more years to come. We were fortunate to receive a new inshore lifeboat earlier this year and hope to have a joint ceremony to name the lifeboat and officially open our new station some time next year.’
Anyone interested in volunteering with the RNLI in Blyth, either as crew or as a fundraiser, should email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
An image of the new Blyth RNLI Lifeboat Station. Credit David and Jane Darcy Architects.