RDO Blog Dec 2021

Robbie's Blog for December

Hi everyone,

The RYA East Affiliated Clubs Conference

It was brilliant to see so many of you at the RYA East Affiliated Clubs Conference held on Saturday 27 November at the impressive venue of The Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, Ipswich. Some 80 delegates signed up, representing 40 clubs in the Region. It provided a brilliant opportunity for clubs to get together, share ideas and opportunities. After last year’s event was held virtually, this year’s was delivered as a hybrid event, the face-to-face element at the school followed an online session earlier in the month; those attending appreciated the opportunity to meet with both RYA staff and members from other clubs, hear updates and participate in workshops. With the theme of “Planning for a successful future,” the sessions were based around the topics of development planning, volunteers, members, facility development and legal challenges, drawing upon expertise from the RYA Staff who were on hand to deal with any questions. 

With plenty of opportunities to network, and a fantastic lunch provided by The Royal Hospital School, it was a successful day, which will hopefully lay the foundations for clubs planning for next season and beyond.

Online Webinars

The core topics from the Conference will be delivered via a webinar in the New Year. This will enable those that could not attend the event to learn more about these important areas. The sessions will be delivered in the evenings and you can join from the comfort of your own home. Booking will be live soon, for now, save the date!

  • Retaining Members – 10 January 2022– How can we recruit and retain more members and participants?
  • Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers - 17 January 2022 – How can we recruit and retain more volunteers?
  • Facilities Development – 24January 2022 – How can we develop or replace our facility?
  • Legal and Governance– 31January 2022 – What advice is there for the governance and legal challenges our club is facing?

Registration for these online sessions is available HERE

Thinking ahead to Club renewals

With some 50% of clubs having their renewal period in January and 90% before the end of March, it’s critical to be thinking ahead as to how you will make this as easy as possible for members. It’s good to have a communications plan in place to ensure members understand what is being planned for the coming year, what will be the value of membership next year, and giving members reasons to renew - along with ideally making it as easy as possible to renew, such as accepting online forms/payments.

Your thoughts on Club Development sessions

We would be keen to have your feedback as to whether you would find some local ‘Club Development networking sessions’ in February/March useful. It is envisaged that these would provide an opportunity to catch-up with the RYA East Regional team, discuss plans and share ideas with clubs from your local area. Alternatively if you have suggestions for topics you’d like to discuss I’d like to hear from you. Please send your thoughts to me on Robbie.bell@rya.org.uk

COVID Guidance

As the Government is starting to reintroduce both Covid related guidance and regulations, the team at the RYA are working hard to keep our information for you on this topic up to date. We know that at times there is a delay between the Prime Minister’s announcements and us being able to update our guidance; this is normally a result of us waiting for the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to update their guidance or at times for us to have sight of the wording of the legislation which can make a significant difference between what is and is not permitted.  We will continue to apply pressure to these bodies as we know how important it is for you to know what is permissible or advisable as quickly as possible.  Our guidance is available here, scroll down the page to find our “FAQs on COVID-19 Guidance.”


I know that more and more clubs are trying to be more inclusive so that they can attract more members. So to assist you with this we have 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 loads of templates and additional resources to help clubs and centres to navigate their way through the tool.  The toolkit is now ready to be tested by a small number of clubs and we are looking for some volunteers to take part in the “Phase 2 Pilot”. This will involve a select number of clubs trailing 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 talk to me or contact the equality team on equality@rya.org.uk.

Save the date

Over the coming months we have several events taking place - these include:

  • RYA Training Conference (online) – 05 & 06 February 2022
  • RYA Sailability Conference (Wyboston Lakes) – 12 February 2022
  • RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show (Farnborough International) – 26 & 27 February 2022
  • RYA East Instructor Training Day (Royal Hospital School) – 06 March 2022
  • Discover Sailing (April-Sept) – first deadline 07 Feb, 07 each month thereafter
  • British Youth Sailing Regional Champs (Grafham Water) – 18 & 19th June 2022

Don’t forget to follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram – to let us know what you’ve been up to and to keep up-to-date with the latest news.

The team and I will be taking a break over the festive period and HQ will be closed from the 23rd December until the 4th January. I would like to wish you all the best for the coming weeks and look forward to catching up with you in the new year.