New facility for aspiring lifeguards

An upgraded training and educational facility which will help to keep beachgoers safe is coming to Bournemouth’s seafront.

Bournemouth Lifeguard Corps, a voluntary club helping to develop fresh lifeguarding talent in the region, will be leasing the purpose-built centre as its new headquarters whilst enabling other community groups to benefit from the facilities.

The organisation has been active in the area since 1965, with over 100 members working closely alongside the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to provide support during peak season and high footfall events on the coast.

Situated on the Joseph Steps site beneath West Cliff Zig-Zag, the new building will sport a modern, sustainable design featuring dedicated training and operational rooms, equipment storage and changing facilities.

This green, minimalistic approach will be epitomised by the building’s natural wood-effect frontage, which will gaze out to sea.

The facility will also be constructed on the foundations of an existing structure which has since become derelict and in need of repair, helping to reduce reliance on new materials.

The project is one of 11 in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) region which has been enabled through the government’s £4.8 billion Levelling-Up Fund (LUF), of which the council received £19.9 million earlier this year to support valuable infrastructure projects.

Councillor Millie Earl, Portfolio Holder for Connected Communities at BCP Council, said:

“We really value the dedicated volunteers that run Bournemouth Lifeguard Corps and are delighted to be able to provide a facility which will help support them in keeping people safe across our coastline.

“It is equally exciting to see yet another modern, unique and sustainability-focused building benefit the look and feel of our coastline, preserving its quality for the enjoyment of future generations.”

John Humphreys, Committee Member at Bournemouth Lifeguard Corps, added:

“This is a really exciting time for us, going into a world-class training facility like this will support us in our day-to-day operations, which are ultimately focused around protecting and saving lives.”

Preliminary demolition works are scheduled to begin week commencing 13 November 2023, with construction due to start in early 2024 and complete by March 2025.

For safety purposes, the site will be fenced off during demolition and construction phases, and we ask residents to please respect and adhere to any safety signage on display.

West Cliff Zig-Zag will remain open throughout and beach access will not be affected.