RDO Blog - December 2021

Catch up on all the latest RYA North East news for clubs with Regional Development Officer Sam Usher...

Thank you to all of the clubs who attended the RYA North East Affiliated Clubs Conference at Catterick Race Course at the beginning of the month. Although there were not as many delegates as expected due to the closure of the A1 north and southbound carriageways making travel difficult, those who were able to make it had a really good day.

Positive feedback confirms that the conference provided a valuable opportunity for club representatives to meet each other and share ideas. Getting back together again in person enabled clubs to realise they have various challenges in common, resulting in some good discussions and outcomes alongside the scheduled conference workshops.

Following on from the conference there will be a number of online Club Development Sessions in January across the key themes of membership, volunteering, developing facilities and governance/legal challenges. Registration for these online sessions is available HERE.

If your club only has time to attend just one of these then I would strongly recommend committee members signing up for the workshop titled: “What advice is there for the governance and legal challenges our club is facing?” It is essential that clubs are aware of their legal liabilities if they are not an incorporated organisation, which most are not. The legal workshop at the conference was a real eye-opener so this session will be of particular benefit to clubs.

Volunteer Development and Martin Boatman Legacy Fund

The Affiliated Clubs Conference also saw the official launch of our new RYA North East Volunteer Development and Martin Boatman Legacy Fund.

This joint initiative by the RYA North East Regional Volunteer Team (RVT) and Martin Boatman Legacy Fund aims to support clubs, classes and individuals within the region who want to access training or courses with the aim of increasing participation or membership.

Grants of up to £250 are available to support volunteer development across all aspects of boating and - via the Martin Boatman Legacy Fund managed by RYA Coaching Development – for young people aged under 30 who want to begin or develop their own journey in coaching.

Find out more about this funding programme and how to apply here.

Instructor courses now bookable

Booking is now open for more than a dozen courses and skills development days in the region as part of our ongoing programme for instructors, coaches and clubs.

Opportunities include: Dinghy Senior Instructor; Dinghy Instructor Revalidation Day; Discover Instructing (Dinghy); Dinghy Instructor Skills Development; Aspiring Powerboat Trainer; Safety Boat Course; Powerboat & Safety boat Handling Skills Development; Discover Instructing (Powerboat); Powerboat Instructor Skills Development; Start Windsurfing Instructor; Windsurfing Instructor Revalidation; Discover Instructing (Windsurfing); Intermediate Windsurfing Instructor Prep Day; and Windsurfing Instructor Skills Development.

You can find out more about all the Instructor, Race Coach and CPD courses coming up in the region and book here. Courses will continue to be added to the list over the coming weeks in addition to those already bookable. You may want to bookmark the page so you can check back regularly and remember we also have our RYA NE Instructors and Coaches group.

Club Membership Census

A big thank you to all of our clubs in the RYA North East region who returned the 2021 RYA Club Membership Census – we were the only region in the country and the first ever to achieve a 100% return rate, providing a wealth of data for tailoring RYA support going forward.

The good news continues with the headline figures which show that membership levels in the region are the highest they’ve been in a number of years – totalling 14,230 members in 2021, a 30% increase on the previous year and a growth of 45% since 2016. This is a massive achievement which reflects a lot of hard work and dedication by clubs and their volunteers.

Now, however, is the time for clubs to press pause and have a think about how it may be possible to maintain that level of membership and keep those new people engaged. Many will have come in though paddleboarding or open water swimming as an access point during the lockdowns and restrictions of the pandemic, so may be vulnerable to lapsing as other activities open up again.

Make time to take stock at your club and consider how you might hone or adapt your offer to match the wants, desires and needs of your existing and new members. You may also want to look out for when the Club Development Sessions in January become bookable as the focus of one of these will be: “How can we retain more members?”

Inclusivity Toolkit

More and more clubs are trying to be more inclusive so that they can attract more members. To assist you with this, the RYA has created an inclusivity toolkit which is designed to help clubs and centres to establish where on that journey they currently are and offer guidance on how to move forward from there. The tool itself comes with a plethora of templates and additional resources to help clubs and centres to navigate their way through the toolkit, which is now ready to be tested by a small number of clubs.

We are looking for some volunteers to take part in the “Phase 2 Pilot”. This will involve a select number of clubs trialling the tool within their clubs through the winter and then providing feedback to us on how they found the tool and provide us with a case study. If you would be interested in joining the phase two pilot and helping us to create an incredible resource, please contact me or the equality team by emailing equality@rya.org.uk.

RYA Volunteer Awards

Huge congratulations to the dedicated club members from the region who were among those honoured in the 2021 RYA Volunteer Awards: David White and George Panter of Ulley Sailing Club, John Knopp of Catterick SC & Thornton Steward SC and Tony Dalton of Yorkshire Dales SC. All of our recipients have made an incredible contribution to the sport and you can find out more about their volunteering and the awards in our North East round-up.

Vote for our Club of the Year finalist

There’s still time to vote for our RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year finalist Teesdale Sailing & Watersports Club to help us bring home the trophy to the North East. This little club has developed its facilities and membership to become a vibrant hub for its community, with a growing youth and junior section and a diverse and impressive range of on-the-water activity. Find out more about Teesdale SWC here and remember to cast your vote!

And finally…

Stay up to date with all the latest news by following @RYANorthEast on Facebook and/or Twitter and add our ‘save the dates’ for clubs to your new diary for 2022!

  • Saturday 5 February: Raymarine Training Conference supported by Gallagher, online
  • Saturday 12 March: RYA Midlands Instructor Training Day, Rutland Sailing Club
  • Saturday & Sunday 26-27 February: RYA Dinghy Show, Farnborough International

Wishing you all a happy and safe festive season,