The RYA is delighted to announce that Rob Clark has been appointed the new Director of Sport Development and Ben Falla joins the team as Head of Membership.

Rob joins the RYA from Rockley Watersports where he was Operations Director responsible for the delivery of a huge range of activities from first time sailing experiences to instructor qualifications, school and youth group sessions, educational programmes, holiday experiences and ‘pay and play’ sessions.

An active member of his sailing club, Rob volunteers with his youth fleet and has previously been secretary of the J24 class association. He’s also been involved with the RYA Training Committee and is no stranger to boat shows including the RYA Dinghy Show and wider industry events.

Commenting on his appointment Rob said: I’m delighted to take on the role of Director of Sport Development and to start working with the team. 2020 has been a hugely challenging time for all of us, however one of the key features has been seeing the number of people who’ve discovered or rediscovered the amazing activities that we can enjoy around our coastline or inland waters. I feel this gives us a great opportunity to carry this momentum forward and open our doors for more participation and engagement at all levels.

“Having spent over 25 years involved in the delivery of activities to people of all ages and backgrounds, I feel that I can use this knowledge and understanding of club, class association, centre and showcase environments to help support venues to introduce even more people to the wonderful opportunities that boating provides.”

As Director of Sport Development, Rob will be responsible for the planning and implementation of the Sport Development programmes and activities and maintain participation in sailing and windsurfing.

He'll also be supporting RYA affiliated clubs as well as liaising with Sport England to develop plans and gain support and essential funding for RYA initiatives and programmes.

While over in the RYA’s membership team, Ben Falla joins the team as Head of Membership.

Ben joins the RYA after more than eight and half years with British Cycling, where he has been their Acting Head of Customer Engagement and Membership since November 2019, prior to which he was their Senior Customer Engagement and Business Intelligence Manager.

Ben brings a wealth of experience in driving membership acquisition, retention and engagement within a National Governing Body.

Passionate about data and digital, Ben will be focusing on creating a more tailored and personalised membership experience, getting to know members on an individual basis, leading to more meaningful engagement. As well as evolving the use of digital tools, Ben will be embedding a member first approach across the organisation and working to support all boaters to help grow the association’s membership base.

Commenting on his appointment Ben said: “My entire career has been spent in the sport and leisure sector and during my time at British Cycling we saw rapid growth in membership numbers. My journey there began launching a digital tool kit for cycling clubs and then evolved into membership, data systems, business intelligence, customer engagement and ultimately oversight of the entire department. I am really looking forward to the new role at the RYA and believe the knowledge and experience I bring will help to further develop a highly tailored, personalised, service and experience for our members.”

For more information about the RYA, RYA Membership and how to get involved in boating visit www.rya.org.uk