WOW – what a month March was and I’m sure April will be just as tricky as we try to live through the impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19)!
Things have certainly been different as many of us get used to being at home (or in work) a lot more; have increasing worries for our loved ones as they go out to work, or for the family we can’t see; as we try to work out how to home-school, work and shop all whilst undertaking some form of daily exercise. Our time spent on social media platforms has gone through the roof and the world in which we live has become a much scarier place!
However, in the midst of all this Robin, Jack and I (and others in the RYA Scotland team) have had some great conversations with local clubs & centres throughout Scotland in this past week. We’ve heard some heart-warming stories on how they are supporting their local communities and foodbanks, how they are reaching out to all their members (especially the more vulnerable ones), how they are planning a variety of sailing/boating/eco challenges and quiz nights; and how they are looking to ensure their clubs stay clubs despite not being able to get on the water. There’s been a wee bit of doom & gloom about the financial hardships that are taking place but as more than one club has said “it’s all about the members, not the money” “we’ll be down on the finances anyway but it’s better to be down on money with our community still involved than be down on money with no members”.
So, we thought that through this month’s club chat we would share some of the key messages on from our “Connect: A chance to catch-up & ask Question” sessions and our focus club discussions:
Show how you want to support others and ask for ideas to continue to keep them involved.
Remember there are lots of options and ways to ‘connect’ with people – have a look and see what is right for the audience, and it may be that a more ‘stable’ paid for platform would be useful for the club at this time.
Pace yourself in terms of engagement – we are in this for the long haul
What can you do?
What do you want to do?
What do your members want?
Use the time to ‘plan’ and ‘get ready’ to start again on the water – whether that be through the online training that normally supports your juniors or putting a plan in place for when a staggered return to normal begins.
Focus – think about what the focus is for the club/centre at this time? Keeping a community? What can the club do to support their boating community and the local community?
Membership – be truthful of where you are as a club at the moment. Some clubs have offered ‘refunds’ or asked their membership to pay their fees as normal but to contact them if this is not an option. Show how you want to support others and ask for ideas to continue to keep them involved.
Supporting information – there is a variety of ‘Scottish’ information on our website and sportscotland’s website for you to access, as well as the RYA’s Covid-19 hub.
On-line training & information – there is a variety of RYA, RYA Scotland, British Sailing Team (#SailFromHome), Webinars, eSailing, and other videos etc. on Youtube that clubs can access. Some of these will come directly from our online & social media platforms and can be shared to your clubs & centres. You can also utilise the experience within your clubs to host some on-line training around sailing, skills, your clubs & centres to ensure participants and volunteers are fully up-to-speed when we get back on the water!
Please do let us know if there is any additional information/training etc. around topics that you would like to see and we can endeavour to include it in our programme of on-line support & activity. For your information, our next on-line session shall be Wednesday 22nd April 2020 at 4pm and again at 7.30pm and it would be great to see as many of you there as possible!
Finally, I want to inform you that RYA Scotland (and the RYA) are on a 2wk ‘shutdown’ from Friday and the offices (including those working from home) are all closed from 5.00pm on Friday 3 April 2020 until 9.00am on Monday 20 April 2020. The staff are all on annual leave and so during this time calls and emails will not be monitored, and will only be actioned at the earliest opportunity upon the office re-opening on 20 April. However, if anything dramatically changes with the current ‘state of play’ around the Coronavirus then of course we will look to send information out to you and update our website/social media platforms.
In the meantime, please watch out for information, support and communication on our social media channels (which will continue during this break) and we shall get back to you as soon as we can.
We hope to catch-up for a coffee online soon - how about 22nd April - but please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to ask a question or chat.
Take care and stay safe!
The Development Team, aka Robin, Jack & Liza