Applications for the 2021 RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Awards supported by Gallagher will close at 9am Monday 21st September 2020 so we are encouraging clubs not to miss out.
The awards celebrate outstanding achievement and promote the hard work of sailing clubs across the UK, with a finalist for each of the 10 RYA regions plus two wild cards, alongside special commendations in the following categories: Heart of the Community; Modern and Innovative; Sustainability; Inclusive and Open to all; and Boosting Membership.
Finalists go through to a public vote with the overall winner selected by RYA members, Yachts & Yachting readers and the Awards Panel.
RYA Programmes Manager Michelle Gent said: "We've been amazed at the amount of effort clubs have gone to in these extraordinary times. Not only have they gone to great lengths to get their members back on the water but many have reached out to help those in their local community. So much hard work goes into running our clubs on an everyday level. The RYA Club of the Year Award is an opportunity for us to highlight all of these initiatives and more as well as to thank the many countless volunteers without whom none of our club activity would be possible.
What are the benefits?
Draycote Water SC was the Midlands finalist for 2020 after successfully implementing a development plan to expand its activities and reduce membership churn.The club had rejuvenated its prospects by investing in its facilities, supported by a Sport England grant, and by engaging members and the local community, including through groups like Youth & Juniors, Women on Water and Ancient Mariners, new activities like SUPing, corporate hire of the club house during the week, and a packed calendar of events and RYA courses.
With a public vote in the run up to the overall winner being declared, the club found that being shortlisted for a prestigious national award was a valuable way to raise its profile. It was also a fitting climax to a year of celebrations for the club's 50th anniversary.
Among those instrumental in putting forward the club's application for the awards was Vice Commodore Ian Macwhinnie, who said being a finalist had brought a number of benefits even though the presentation had been swiftly followed by lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, which had prevented any follow-up promotional activities like open days and training.
A press release highlighting Draycote Water SC's success led to good local press coverage and three extended interviews on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio, including with some of the club's young sailors, pictured below in the studio with presenter Lorna Bailey, who were able to share with listeners their love of sailing while highlighting the club's junior activities and RYA training.
The club's youth and junior section has gone from strength to strength over summer, with beginners courses for children fully booked and a number of new faces now participating regularly.
Ian said the awards had also been important for raising awareness within the club, particularly given the difficult months which followed: The focus we were able to put on the wide range of our activities helped to increase members' awareness of all that is on offer at the club and emphasise what a fantastic club it is that they belong to. This may have fed into the great support we have had for the various coping mechanisms that have had to be put in place with Covid-19, not least of all the great majority of members renewing their membership even when the prospect of sailing was looking very far off.
For more information on the RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Awards and to complete an application form visit:www.rya.org.uk/go/cluboftheyear