Arts by the Sea Festival Announces Partnership With the Royal National Lifeboat Institution For 2021 Event

As part of the festival’s theme to ‘Connect’ with new audiences following a year of lockdown, it welcomes the RNLI to its festival programme to recruit brave volunteers for its lifeboat and lifeguard crews, share water safety messaging, and help raise vital funds for a lifesaving organisation.

The south coast’s must-visit arts and culture festival, Arts by the Sea, has announced a charity partnership with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) for its 2021 event, taking place from Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd October across Bournemouth’s beautiful beaches and outdoor spaces. From the festival’s ‘Green Hub’ on Town Square and on Sandbanks, alongside a soon-to-announced major art installation, the relationship between the RNLI and Arts by the Sea promotes the festival’s 2021 theme of ‘Connect’, safely and responsibly bringing people together to enjoy Bournemouth’s seaside location. Here the RNLI will connect with festivals goers to offer many interesting opportunities to volunteer for its lifeguard and lifeboat crews, to share essential water safety messaging, and to raise funds for the local community’s vital lifesaving organisation.

Now in its 11th year, Arts by the Sea Festival attracts crowds of over 100,000 to witness and participate in an eclectic and inclusive programme of digital media artworks, performance, live music, breathtaking installation and much more. Staged by BCP Council in association with Arts Council England, this free to attend event is a carnivalesque celebration of arts and culture, and celebrates people coming together again following a year of social distancing.

Naturally born out of the major challenges experienced during the pandemic with regards to maintaining social connections with others, the ‘Connect’ theme of its artistic programme will explore the concept of the human being as a fundamentally social creature – a tribal animal – while highlighting the importance of celebration, festivity and connecting with others. 

Arts by the Sea has partnered with the RNLI charity to help it connect with new people, the local Dorset community, and hopeful volunteers. Since 1824, the RNLI has saved over 143,000 lives and to continue this critical work, the organisation needs more funds and heroic volunteers to help serve one of its busiest seaside locations. Incredibly, the RNLI operates solely on charitable donations and receives no government funding.

From the RNLI, Claire Cardwell (Fundraising & Partnerships Lead South East) commented,

“The theme of ‘connect’ resonates strongly with the RNLI and our mission to save every-one… Nothing could have prepared our brave volunteers for the pandemic, but they kept on answering the call to rescue, 24/7, ready and willing to launch to the rescue and save others. When the coronavirus struck, training courses were cancelled, planned lifeboat maintenance was delayed, and wear and tear on kit and equipment carried on, but still the calls for help kept coming.  We need to continue fundraising to keep our volunteer lifeboat crews trained and equipped to launch and save lives. Working with Arts by the Sea to raise funds is helping the RNLI to keep saving lives, funding the lifesavers of the future and keep our communities safe. Your kindness will keep us ready for when we’re needed most.”

The trustworthy, courageous, and dependable staff at the RNLI are supported by selfless volunteers who make up 95% of the charity. At Arts by the Sea, guests can find out more about how their valuable time could be spent in a variety of roles such as seasonal lifeguards or in search and rescue lifeboat crews. More information on volunteer roles is available here,

Furthermore, the RNLI recognises its responsibility to ensure a more sustainable future for all, together saving lives for generations to come. Committed to an environmental policy to become a climate resilient organisation, the RNLI is working hard with organisations such as Arts by the Sea to look at sustainable ways of using waste products. Items that are no longer fit for operation, will be donated to Arts by the Sea for use in future installations, literally turning old rope into something new.

Arts by the Sea Festival Director, Andrea Francis added, “The RNLI is such an important charity both nationally and locally, with Poole being the home of the RNLI Training College. As a coastal town and coastal festival, we recognise the importance of the work the RNLI do saving lives at sea and keeping our beaches safe. Arts by the Sea has a strong environmental agenda and we feel a strong synergy with the commitments the RNLI have made towards environmental sustainability. We are delighted to be partnering with them this year and hope to raise awareness in our audience of the important work they do.”


This is just one of many partnerships expected for Arts by the Sea in 2021 as it continues to connect with new and local organisations, charities and community groups. Those wishing to be involved, and that can link with the festival’s ‘Connect’ theme, can visit the website for more information