During the month of May there has been a flurry of activity whilst we (at RYA Scotland) pull together guidance that clubs and centres can use to potentially get back on the water. Firstly, we must thank all the Focus Clubs and those who attended the Connect Sessions as we've been using our conversations and scenarios to help build the guidance we issue and will continue to do so. However, we also must apologise for how late in the day the official information seems to get out to you and this will be the same for each time we move from one phase to another. The Scottish Government are keeping a tight grip on what further information, that supports the route-map, is made available and when and although we are working directly with sportscotland and with a number of other sports the devil is in the detail and the support guidance to us is being kept close to the chest of the Scottish Government. As always, we will endeavour to get information and guidance to you as soon as we possibly can.
So, in this month's blog, we want to discuss some areas of guidance, one the 'Return to Boating' and two around 'Safeguarding and Anti-Bullying'.
Return to Boating - Phase 1
In Scotland, Phase 1 is all about an extension to exercise to allow us the opportunity to undertake more outdoor exercise. This is great for those boaters who own their own boat/equipment and are competent (and confident) enough to take to the water as they can potentially get out now, depending on their vicinity to their local club/water. We issued our Phase 1 guidance on 29th May 2020 and we know that clubs have taken a variety of decisions on returning to the water some have allowed social sailing where the sailor is totally reliant on themselves, others are providing a support boat at set times (for social sailing) and some have decided to remain closed at this time. We have had a number of questions from clubs & centres and are in the process of pulling together information on Frequently Asked Questions which will be available shortly.
Two key questions we have been asked, a lot, are around travel and club equipment.
Firstly, as you will know the Scottish Government guidance states that we should stay local to undertake physical activity and exercise. It states that as a guide, rather than a fixed limit, 5 miles from your home would be within your local area. It falls to each individual to exercise their judgement to decide if they are within 5 miles. We are aware that this potentially excludes a number of participants from clubs who are further than local/5 miles but at the moment it is all about being realistic, looking at what you can do locally and remembering that boating will still be there at a later point. We also do know of some clubs who have decided to remain shut just now as most of their members are considerably further away than the recommended limit. For information, we are still awaiting further guidance of what is meant by local for Phase 2 as the Scottish Government's route-map does not include the 5miles for phase 2.
Secondly, the sharing of club equipment and especially the loaning/sharing of club boats has been a question we've received a number of times. Unfortunately, at this moment the answer to No to using club boats for sailing. This is ultimately due to the current Scottish Government guidance that states that when participating in outdoors activity we should avoid touching surfaces with your hands, sharing equipment and touching your mouth and face. In a sporting context, the sharing equipment includes club boats, wetsuits, buoyancy aids etc.
We are still awaiting guidance from the Scottish Government about Phase 2 and any further lifting of restrictions. They are keeping the information very confidential just now and therefore as soon as we know then we'll pass it on. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the guidance then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Safeguarding & Anti-Bullying Policies
We, at RYA Scotland, have been working hard to update and align our Safeguarding Policies and Procedures and I'm delighted to confirm that our Board have approved the following two documents:
The key changes in the Safeguarding and Child Protection Guidelines were the RYA Scotland Policy Statement, What is Meant by Safeguarding, Appendix A (to give the Scottish legislation and context, including SHANARRI), and an update on Good Practice Guidelines specifically Transporting Children, Collection by parents/carers, volunteers Aged 17 or under. We have also refreshed and updated a number of other areas to align with both the Scottish Context (Children 1st and sportscotland) and RYA policy. In addition to this, we have expanded the RYA Scotland Anti-bullying Performance policy to encompass all aspects of our work and this new RYA Scotland Anti-Bullying Policy sits as a separate policy as well as part of our Safeguarding guidelines.
If you have any questions on these documents, then please do not hesitate to get in touch!
Finally, a quick reminder on two other ways to get involved:
The NEW RYA Scotland Podcast Off the Water is continuing to grow. We now have 4 podcast sessions for you to listen to. In line with our returning to the water, the newly released Episode 4 looks at the benefits that our activities have on our mental health, including a discussion with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) about raising the awareness of mental health during lockdown and how physical activity can benefit. It also looks at our involvement in the sportscotland 'Changing Lives' programme that focuses on the power of sport to change both individuals and the communities in which they sit. So, take some time away from your screens and have a listen to what's been happening here .
As we have done throughout the 'Lockdown' we are continuing to host Connect Sessions every Wednesday (4pm and 7pm) as well as number of other sessions to engage and support our community throughout this time. All of the information (including timings and links to join events/sessions) can be found on our online calendar.
We hope to catch-up for a coffee online soon, but please don't hesitate to get in touch for a chat or general check-in!
Take care and stay safe!
The Development Team, aka Robin, Jack & Liza