A recruitment drive has been launched in the RYA Midlands region to find volunteers who would like to share their passion for supporting and promoting boating.

The RYA Midlands Regional Volunteer Team (RVT) supports initiatives to get more people on the water, more often, by helping to raise awareness about the sport, sharing best practice and providing a point of contact for clubs.

The team is now seeking new volunteers to strengthen its work as clubs move forward following the challenges of 2020. The appeal for volunteers also coincides with working towards the next RYA Midlands Regional Plan, making it an exciting time to get involved.

The RVT works closely with the RYA Midlands team, led by Regional Development Officer (RDO) Ben Hodgson, who said: “Our sport is underpinned by the fantastic contribution made by volunteers who want to inspire others. If you can help by joining the Regional Volunteer Team, please get in touch or speak to an RYA Midlands officer or volunteer. We’d love to hear from you!”

Opportunities with the RVT are varied and rewarding, with volunteers joining the committee or helping with specific activities to support the team, the average time commitment varies and is flexible, with any support greatly appreciated. Roles include:

  • Attending high footfall events such as county shows to promote boating and local clubs to increase participation
  • Encouraging clubs to make full use of the support available through the RYA
  • Providing a vital link between affiliated clubs and the RYA, enabling a two-way sharing of knowledge, information, views and expertise
  • Advising on local planning, environmental, navigation and lease renewal issues
  • Working with RYA campaigns and events such as the Affiliated Clubs Conference to help develop a vibrant future for the sport
  • Enabling clubs to access funding opportunities
  • Managing regional fleets and other resources

In the Midlands, RVT members are boating enthusiasts with a breadth and variety of experience who often bring expertise from their working lives or from serving on their own club committees.

Midlands chair Steven Tinsley joined the team following a career managing IT projects and change programmes in industry, and is a member of Glossop SC, where he’s been a flag officer for many years and a dinghy instructor.

Mr Tinsley, who in March will also become chair of the RYA English Regions Forum, said: “When I joined the Regional Volunteer Team I’d been a flag officer and had learned where all the sources of help were, in particular within the RYA, and wanted to share that knowledge.

“I’ve found being a member of the team hugely rewarding. It enables me to support boating and the sport we all love, and help other clubs with the things that make life difficult like membership churn and lease negotiations.

“Given the Covid pandemic, the probability is that there are far more clubs wanting help now than ever before, so it’s a good time to ask yourself, can you help your fellow RYA members, boaters and clubs? Please do contact us if you would like know more about our friendly team and what we do.”

As part of the drive to recruit additional volunteers, the RVT would like to hear from anyone who might be interested in helping as a Racing Rules Advisor to support clubs, or as a Fleet Manager or Assistant to support the logistics and maintenance of the regional fleet, which includes Optimists and Toppers for junior sailors.

To get in touch with the Regional Volunteer Team, contact Chair Steven Tinsley and Secretary, Peter Smerdon, here. Find out more about the RVT and its members on the RYA Midlands hub.