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Robbie's Blog April 2020

Robbie Bell's Blog for April.

Hi everyone,

I hope you are keeping well in these challenging times. As the season would usually have begun for many, it seems strange writing this with sailing and boating activities not taking place. I understand this is a difficult and frustrating time and if you do have any queries on RYA Guidelines and Covid-19, please visit the Coronavirus Hub on the RYA website. Based on the Government’s advice and guidance on the developing situation, the RYA has suspended all RYA organised events, instructor courses and revalidations until at least 31 May – this date will be regularly reviewed. This also includes Discover Sailing events. 

In order to ensure we have adequate staff cover when the current crisis begins to settle, the decision has been made that all RYA staff will be on mandatory leave for a 2 week period from the afternoon of 3 April through to the morning of 20 April. This will ensure that we have adequate cover later in the year to service your needs when the peak of this crisis has passed. During this time we will have cover in place to support clubs and centres with urgent issues - if you do need such support please contact sport.development@rya.org.uk. This email will be monitored over this 2 week period. If your club or centre are badly impacted by Covid-19, please drop me an email. We are capturing the details of the organisations that have been badly affected so that when more support becomes available from our partners at organisations such as Sport England, we can target this support where it is needed most.

Planning ahead & keeping in touch with members

This enforced downtime does give many of us an opportunity to plan for when we can get back afloat– that development plan you’ve considered writing, the website you need to update, funding you wanted to apply for – and whilst not ideal, this time does give us the opportunity to get these plans in place so that we can hit the ground running when our season does begin. 

It has been great to hear about all the community projects going on and ways in which sailing clubs are continuing to engage with members during this period. We also saw a huge take-up of the Virtual Regatta e-Sailing offer, with over 300 clubs signing up. We are aware many of you will be trying to up your communication with members to keep them engaged – don’t forget about the resources available in Club Zone that we developed with our partners SocialB. Communication with members is more important than ever, keeping people engaged and supporting our vulnerable members are opportunities we should support. The RYA is launching a schedule of online activities that will range from guest speakers through to top tips and much more, check out our social media channels and search for #sailfromhome online. If you have any ideas that you’d like to share with clubs in the Region, please do post them on our social media pages (RYA East Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and I look forward to seeing your own ideas and communications. This is a great time to refresh our own knowledge too, I’ve signed up for a Yachtmaster Theory course online, I did it the first time nearly 20 years ago and am looking forward to dusting off the cobwebs!

Volunteer Award nominations

The deadline for nominations for the RYA Volunteer Awards has been extended to 01 May – so if you have a volunteer within your Club who goes the extra mile, why not nominate them? You can find out more here.

I hope that you all stay well and safe,

Robbie

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