It's been great to catch up with so many of you at the Club Development Workshops, Instructor Training Day and the RYA Dinghy Show over the past month.
It feels like everyone is prepared to take advantage of the opportunities to get more people sailing this summer.
It was amazing to see half the clubs recognised for RYA Club of the Year honours at the Dinghy Show hailed from the Midlands. As well as HOEOCA and Rudyard Lake SC being shortlisted as Club of the Year finalists, and recognised for their innovation and communication respectively, Midland SC and Notts County SC were two of three clubs in the entire UK awarded new Certificates of Commendation.
That just highlights how the enthusiasm and innovation we know exists in this region is actually leading the way for clubs across the country too, so my message is most definitely to keep at it because the more people you get sailing more often your club and the sport as a whole benefits.
While we're on awards, don't forget the deadline for the 2017 RYA Volunteer Awards is looming on Monday 3 April. Last year the Midlands had no fewer than 12 winners across the award categories of National, Lifetime Achievement, Outstanding Commitment and Youth.
With just under a month until the deadline it is definitely the time to be getting on the case with your nominations. South Staffs SC have had multiple winners in recent years and in January's Midlands newsletter, they outlined why they value the awards so much and the process they go through to make it all as painless as possible. You can read that article by clicking on the link at the top of this page.
Book the RYA Midlands Event Pack to boost your promotion
Are you promoting your club at a county show or in your local town centre this year? If so did you know the RYA has an events pack you can book to support your promotion?
As well as the Go Sailing gazebo I'm sure you've all seen before, this year the pack includes a new Fusion SailBoat, designed by Glen Truswell.
The whole pack comes with a trailer and, although it's unofficial 'home' is Upton Warren SC, we hope that like last year, it will be booked for the whole summer and moved between clubs between events. If the pack is available clubs can borrow it for events themselves, but priority booking is given to clubs promoting future activities. To check availability and to make a booking email email@example.com
Each year the RYA Midlands team also attends a number of events to promote sailing in the region and it would be brilliant if we could get more real life sailors like you to help us showcase what the sport is really all about at some of these events. If you would be interested in being part of this group we would love to hear from you. You can drop me a line via the Contacts link at the top of this page.
New Access to be added to Regional Fleet
The Regional Volunteer Team is in the process of buying an Access dinghy to add to the Midlands' existing hire fleet. This is a really exciting development, led by Midlands Disability Development Officer Brett Cokayne, to give clubs who want to offer more inclusive sailing the chance to access a boat before investing themselves.
It is proposed the Access, which is set to be kept at Staunton Harold SC, will be available for clubs to book to use at Open/Taster Days as well as by clubs keen on running Sailability activity but who haven't quite got the equipment to do so yet. Full details will be coming soon but if you're interested in knowing more drop Brett a line via the RYA Midlands Contacts link at the top of the page.
This comes as another fleet of Toppers has also been added to the Midlands Regional Fleet, to further boost junior sailing and racing opportunities the region. Find out how you can book any of the regional boats - Toppers, Optimists or Vagos - plus trailers at the top of this page. There's some more information and background here too - Building On Regional Fleet Renaissance
Time to start thinking about Honda RYA Youth RIB
The Midlands Area Final isn't until 1 July, but for clubs thinking about running club heats, our HYR Regional Co-ordinator Will Baldock wants to hear from you! Will can support you with advice and providing kit to help you run a heat so drop him at line at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're still not convinced that Honda Youth RIB is for your club here's a throwback to a story we did with double-National Finals winners, South Staffs SC, on how and why they do it (and it goes beyond just having won two brand new RIBS) - The truth about the Honda Youth RIB Championship
Your Regional Volunteer Team for 2017
In the midst of the recent Instructor Training Day, the Midlands Regional Volunteer Team (RVT) also held its AGM, giving the RVT a chance to better understand the work my team does with clubs and centres in the region and also to let our instructors and coaches see how the RYA is supporting the development of the sport in the region beyond what me and my team do day-in-day-out on the ground.
We were delighted that former Shustoke Commodore, David Dale, was elected to continue as Chairman for another year while we welcome a new addition to the RVT in the form of experienced Glossop SC committee member, Steven Tinsley, who has been appointed Vice Chair after Roger Day stepped down. Roger is continuing in the role of Regional Boat Bosun, looking after and managing the regional fleets.
Peter Smerdon and Ashleigh Hemming (both from the Heart of England Offshore Cruising Association) will continue as Secretary and Treasurer respectively, with Andrew Yates (Olton Mere) and Bill Trewick (Wanlip SC) providing further support. HOEOCA's Judy Lambourne is the region's Cruising Rep.
Changes to the Adventure Activities Licence
The Adventure Activity Licensing Service (AALS) have agreed that Recognised Training Centres (RTCs) recognised for and delivering the RYA Dinghy or Windsurfing schemes now comes under the scope of the Merchant Shipping exemption and no longer require an Adventure Activity Licence. This exemption only applies to activity covered by RYA recognition. For example, if an RTC conducts other activity which comes under the scope of the Adventure Activity Licensing, such as kayaking, then it continues to require a licence. Read the full Training notice at the link at the top of this page.
Sport England Funding
You might have seen Sport England have launched a host of new funding opportunities over the last couple of months as well as continuing the popular Small Grants fund. If you haven't yet checked out what's on offer it's well worth it by clicking on the link at the top of this page.
Have a great month everyone!
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