A VOLUNTARY organisation says the community’s support is vital to keep them going.

Members of the National Coastwatch group at Portland Bill set up a stand in Asda, Weymouth, to raise awareness and funds for their group.

They said that the support they got from the community was invaluable.

Station manager Geoff Peters said that the group, which has 70 members, had a range of people volunteering in it from seafarers and captains to plumbers and electricians.

He said: “We need £7,000 a year to keep the doors open. We have 70 people and are open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Mr Peters said that volunteers are often mistaken for coastguards and getting to go to local supermarkets helped not only with their fundraising, but with raising their profile in the community too.

He said: “It’s good, and the local people are very generous. We get great support from all the local supermarkets – they all support us.”

He added that the group had just received the Queen’s award for the voluntary sector which he said was ‘the equivalent to the MBE in the voluntary sector’.

He said: “We are very proud of that.”

Pam Peters from Coast-watch said: “We couldn’t do without the support.”

She added: “It’s important to raise awareness.”

Asda’s community life champion Sandy West said that the supermarket allowed all sorts of groups to use their space to help raise awareness and funds.

She said: “It’s about not just being here for people shopping, but being part of the community.

“We’re particularly pleased to have Coastwatch – they are a wonderful organisation.”

She added: “It’s a great way of promoting charities and groups people might not be aware of.”

For more information about volunteering, call National Coastwatch Portland Bill on 01305 837216.