Clubs across the RYA North East region are invited to enter the 2021 RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Awards for their chance to win a place in the spotlight.
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.
All RYA affiliated clubs across the UK are eligible to apply and finalists go through to a public vote with the overall winner selected by RYA members, Yachts & Yachting readers and the Awards Panel.
Applications for the 2021 RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Awards supported by Gallagher will close at 9am Monday 21st September 2020 and RYA North East clubs are urged not to miss out.
Sam Usher, RYA North East Regional Development Officer, said: “I’m proud to say that the region has some fantastic clubs who have really done us proud over what has been a challenging year for all of us, and the awards are a chance to celebrate that enthusiasm and dedication.
“The awards generate great publicity for the finalists not only nationally but also in our local and regional press, making it a great opportunity for clubs to raise awareness about what they offer for their members and local communities. Please do have a think about what makes your club special and consider entering the 2021 awards for your chance to be in the spotlight!”
Benefits for regional finalist Yorkshire Dales
Yorkshire Dales SC was the region’s finalist in the 2020 RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Awards following a successful year for its racing and training programme.
The club felt an opportunity had arisen to enter the awards after it gained RYA Recognised Training Centre and RYA OnBoard status in 2019 plus a £10,000 Sport England grant for five new Picos.
The finalists each year are invited onto the stage at the RYA Dinghy Show in Spring for the awards ceremony and collecting the award on behalf of Yorkshire Dales SC was the club’s Training & Safety Officer Erica Caswell (pictured), supported by fellow club members who made the trip to London.
Erica said taking part in the Club of Year Awards had brought a number of benefits to the club, starting with the process of putting the application together, which involved examining the club’s performance and entering the details for consideration by the Awards Panel.
The club found the process of entering relatively easy in terms of form-filling and was invited to also submit either a video or PowerPoint presentation, choosing to do the latter using its data for activities and engagement and photographs of the club in action.
As Erica explains: “It encouraged us to work out our statistics and it was quite good to analyse the club’s membership and list all our achievements. If you’re trying to also do a development plan for your club, it helps with that as well because it makes you think about what you’re doing.”
With a public vote supporting finalists 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, with its success highlighted in local newspapers and in radio interviews.
“In terms of getting through to the final 10, there’s obviously a certain amount of prestige which enables you to promote yourselves as having got through to the final stage, and the public voting heightens people’s awareness of your club,” said Erica. “It also pointed out to our own membership that we are a successful club, which can’t do any harm, and it’s nice to get a bit of recognition.”
The club’s framed Certificate of Commendation as a regional finalist has pride of place on the wall and a package of goodies was also delivered after the awards ceremony with a variety of big and small items ranging from a giant buoy and new radio to other gifts such as electronic charts, a dryrobe and suntan lotion, some of which have gone into the prize cabinet for when the club hosts open meetings.
As Erica sums up: “Taking part in the Club of the Year awards provided a boost for the club and for our members. There were lots of really good presents too! It was a really positive experience.”
RYA Director of Sport Development Alistair Dickson said the awards were a fantastic way to celebrate the huge efforts of those involved in running sailing clubs: “The past few months have been hugely challenging for clubs, so it feels more important than ever to recognise the people who have worked tirelessly to ensure that others can continue to get out on the water safely and enjoy what they love doing.”
Georgie Corlett-Pitt, editor of Yachts & Yachting Magazine, added: “While recent months may have posed many unprecedented challenges for our clubs, they have also brought to the fore the spirit and resilience of the sailing community. This year more than ever we look forward to acknowledging those achievements with the RYA and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year Awards".
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