We've been talking about this for a while now, but the RYA Midlands Regional Plan 2017-2021 is now out, highlighting exactly what we want to achieve and how across the region over the next four years.

The regional plan provides us not only with a strategy to ensure the areas we have identified as priorities are being worked towards in everything we do, but also gives our clubs and centres a useful framework or benchmark to see if what you're doing will also deliver the experiences we know people want.

This plan has been a long time in the making. 

It is informed from extensive data and insight that confirms we are living in a very different world to where we were
10 years ago and the future success of boating within the region is going to require much greater collaboration
than it has ever done before.

Whilst naturally incorporating some aspects of national significance, this is
a tailored plan for the Midlands region
so everything here is relevant to you
and your club or centre.

SWOTs new?

The plan opens with an SWOT analysis overview of the strengths and opportunities, weaknesses and threats on the current state of boating in the Midlands.

Amongst the positive highlights are the fact club membership in the region has grown by 20% since 2013, the Midlands has the largest proportion (22%) of disabled sailors participating regularly within England and, thanks to the effort you put in to this as well, we have strong engagement and relationships in place with our clubs and centres, with RYA regional events very well attended.

But, counter to this, we also know that membership churn within the Midlands is above the national average, there is a decline in the both the number of newly-qualified instructors and junior club members in the region and only 33% of club members from the Midlands are female, one of the lowest percentages in the country. 

Overall there is lots to feel positive about and we now have a realistic overview of the region from which to form the plan and to help us more intelligently support our clubs and centres to grow membership and build participation within sailing and boating as a whole.

Getting focused

All the research and analysis that has taken place over the past six months has led us to identifying seven key focus areas for the next four years. 

These focus areas are...

  • Increase demand for sailing and boating
  • Reduce membership churn within our clubs
  • Increase the diversity of club membership
  • Increase junior club membership
  • Increase the number of instructors and race coaches
  • Promote RYA representation and membership
  • Develop regular activity for disabled people

The plan then goes through each focus area separately, detailing up to seven ways in which we plan to address and achieve each focus target. 

This is where you will start to see how we plan to work with our clubs and centres to deliver on these objectives. Could you also look at these to see where you might have gaps in your provision where you want to introduce or increase activity?

Regular readers of this newsletter will know we have already started putting projects in place to address some of the focus targets, such as new instructor training opportunities including specifically for females. 

In the coming months we will look at each of these areas more closely to see how we can have the greatest impact to the benefit of not only the sport in our region, but by default, the health and vibrancy of our clubs and centres. 

Coming along to the RYA Midlands Affiliated Clubs Conference in November will also give you a lot of insight on this front too.

Midlands RDO Gareth Brookes admitted he is delighted the plan is now out there. 

He said: "Never has there been a more important time to plan for tomorrow's customer. The world is moving more quickly than it ever has before and people are now better informed, able to access opportunities much more easily and are more selective about how they spend their leisure time.

"The information and data provided by you through surveys like the RYA Club Membership Census has been invaluable in establishing the strengths and weaknesses of our region and developing this plan so we say 'thank you' for that. 

"Producing the plan is, of course, just the beginning. We are confident that, with the firm foundations we have built over the last few years, it will provide a blueprint for future success and the ongoing development of boating within the region. We very much look forward to working with you in its delivery."

Download the plan - RYA MIDLANDS REGIONAL PLAN 2017-2021