Our story begins at a small countryside nursery in Benenden, Kent, where both Charlotte and Stacey have worked for a number of years together. In May 2013 two gorgeous little boys arrived, and on day one each was assigned a key worker, who happened to be Charlotte and Stacey.
In May 2014, tragedy struck when the boys lost their father in a drowning accident whilst on holiday in the Jamaican fishing village of Treasure Beach, where the family had spent many previous family holidays. Early one morning, the elder boy – then only four, and not yet able to swim – was paddling in the shallows when a riptide pulled him out to sea. His father raced into the sea and saved his life – but then drowned before his eyes. The tragedy devastated the community of Treasure Beach, who lost a dear friend, and left two young boys fatherless.
Charlotte then joined the family as the boys’ nanny in August 2014, whilst Stacey remained at the nursery, where the youngest son still attended. In February 2015 Charlotte accompanied the boys and their mother to Treasure Beach, where she helped teach the elder boy to swim, and gave him the confidence to go back into the sea. Charlotte saw at once that Treasure Beach was a close community and a very special place, and it was there that she watched the boys, after so many heartbreakingly difficult months of grief, begin to recover their spirit for life.
In February 2016, Charlotte returned to Treasure Beach with the family, this time as a friend. It is a remote, impoverished rural village, with no public funds or facilities for the children, and during this second visit she began to see that her childcare skills and experience were something she could offer.
Two months later she returned to Treasure Beach again, this time to work as a volunteer in two local nurseries and the Saturday school. Stacey joined Charlotte for part of her stay, and volunteered alongside her, getting to know the local families and falling in love with the community just as Charlotte had. The nurseries and school have to struggle with very little money, and Charlotte and Stacey’s contribution to the children’s lives and education was invaluable. It was very hard to say goodbye when the three months were up, and the pair resolved to return again, and do more for these children and their families.
While Charlotte had been living in Treasure Beach, its annual triathlon had taken place. She offered to help out, and was put in charge of registering entrants to the junior contest. Surprised by how few local children were competing, she was dismayed to discover that this was because barely any could swim. With no access to a safe pool or swimming lessons, they are growing up beside the sea but unable to swim. One tragic consequence of this has been the number of lives the village has lost to the ocean in drowning accidents.
Both Charlotte and Stacey are keen swimmers. Realising this was a life-saving skill they could offer to the community, they decided to set up a charity to provide access to a local pool equipped with floatation aids and life guards, and return to Treasure Beach in 2017 to teach the children to swim.