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How do we recognise our volunteers?

Last chance to nominate for the RYA Volunteer Awards!

More than 6.3 million adults gave their time at least twice in 2018 to help make sport and activity happen in the UK*. Volunteers are the backbone of our clubs and the sailing community, with thousands up and down the country giving their time and resource each year.

Why do we volunteer?

Ann Burgoine, RYA Match Racing volunteer, Coventry

Ann has been volunteering for more than 20 years at different clubs, helping out where she can with everything from time keeping to making lunch (and cakes!) for everyone. Most recently involved with making sure the RYA Match Racing events run smoothly, Ann explained why she volunteers: “I’m an organised person and enjoy making sure everything happens when it needs to happen. I help out with time keeping, doing the flags, providing refreshments and acting as another pair of eyes – making sure the racing runs to time.

“I do really enjoy it, it’s satisfying when it all goes to plan and everyone is able to enjoy themselves and achieve their best. I retired 10 years ago and like being able to help out, having a job and purpose and making sure everything runs smoothly. We’ve met lots of good friends through volunteering, ultimately we all want to achieve a good outcome.”

Richard Pausey, Upper Thames Sailing Club, Buckinghamshire

Richard is a Flag Officer at his sailing club and consequently part of the management committee. Having started out as Merlin Rocket Class Captain 9 years ago, Richard has been fully involved with all aspects of club life ever since, assisting with maintenance issues and any project that could be beneficial to the membership.

Richard commented: “I volunteer because I have the time to help and the practical skills necessary for many of the maintenance items and other enhancements of our facilities. Volunteering is important because it gives me the opportunity to give something back to our members and helps keep the club thriving.

“As a purely volunteer led club, it is quite satisfying to feel that I am part of the club’s life, rather than just being a member of the club. It gives me the opportunity to get involved with other members and build friendships away from the purely competitive nature of dinghy racing or just socializing at the bar or club events.

“The old saying, the more you put in, the more you get out, is absolutely true and I am fortunate to be in a position that no matter when I go to the club, there are always friends that I can chat to, whether in their teens, or through to their eighties.

“Without enough volunteers though, the club would suffer and probably decline. If you get involved when you join a club, you soon build friendships and feel part of the club, rather than just being a member on the fringes of a close knit group who do all the work!”

Recognising our volunteers

Making sure that volunteers feel appreciated, valued and recognised is essential in retaining them as well as boosting morale and motivation. This can be achieved through club activities including awards evenings, newsletters and club communications, or simply saying thank you!

Each year, the RYA Volunteer Awards recognise the outstanding contribution made by volunteers throughout the UK. Do you know someone who really makes a difference at your club? Why not nominate them for an RYA Volunteer Award?

Nominations close on Friday 05 April. Find out more at


*Sport England’s Active Lives Survey 2018.

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