West Midlands Club Conference, January 7th 2009

Representatives from almost every club, school and university in the West Midlands attended the ARA Club Conference at Worcester University on January 7th 2009, with use of the facilities generously donated for free by the university.

The main presentation was an outline of the new ARA strategy for Rowing 2009 – 2013 during the morning session, and afternoon sessions to deliver the new ARA Safeguarding and Row Safe policies given by Annamarie Phelps and Stuart Ward respectively, and a Running Sport ‘Club for All’ workshop.


The main presentation, delivered by the West Midlands CDO Jo Atkinson, was an outline of the new strategy and of the data collected as a result of surveys undertaken by ARA and Sport England (Active People). With many statistics presented about rowing and the numbers and reasons for people either taking part or giving up, many ideas were discussed as to how the information could be used to develop the rowing activity in the West Midlands. Sport England’s outcomes for participants of sport:- Grow, Sustain and Excel were explained, and the ARA’s aims for these outlined, with explanations of new initiatives and strategies to grow the sport and retain present members whilst  still producing excellent results at the top level.

To make the statistics more relevant to the region, an outline of one of the regional Clubs catchment areas and membership was given – resulting in one club now knowing why their membership consisted of a high level of older participants and why recreational rowing was a success there.

The day concluded with The Regional Chairman Bob Bayliss presenting the Chairman of Ross Rowing Club, Bryn Hughes, with his certificate for Volunteer of the Year.

Jo Atkinson – West Midlands CDO