Regional Get-Togethers – helping to prepare rowing clubs for the future

Over the past four months, members of the rowing community from across the country have come together for a series of Regional Get-Togethers.

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Hosted by Regional Rowing Councils, volunteers and British Rowing staff delivered key updates on the sport’s competition structure, provided advice and guidance on anti-doping, and discussed how clubs can prepare for the expected surge in interest around Rio 2016.

Open to all, the events were aimed principally at club Chairs and Captains, although interest was received from a range of club officers including Recreational Co-ordinators and Welfare Officers. In total, some 117 clubs were represented at eight events from Durham in the North to Bath in the West, with 205 club members attending in total.

Ready for Rio? was the question posed to all who attended the events. Responses varied from club to club but all were keen to capitalise on the expected interest around Rio 2016.

London 2012 brought about an unprecedented surge of interest in rowing from the public. We’ve been working hard to help our clubs make the most of this interest during Rio 2016 … Simon Dickie, Head of Participation, British Rowing

In these sessions we asked attendees to focus on two things: firstly to identify some of the key short term ambitions for their clubs, and then to consider how they could use the increased public interest in rowing during the Olympic and Paralympic Games to achieve them.

Common objectives included attracting more coaches and volunteers, raising funds for new boats and facilities and improving links with the local media, as well as the more obvious aim of increasing membership and participation.

Following on from these discussions, British Rowing will now summarise and share the ideas that came out of these sessions through an online ‘Ready for Rio’ toolkit, which will also include activation ideas, branded marketing templates and media guidance.

It was clear from discussions that not only will clubs benefit from Rio 2016 but the wider public can look forward to even more opportunities to experience our great sport.

Competitions review – fair rules, fair races…

A healthy competition structure is key to the success of our sport, and our Regional Get-Togethers included an update from members of the National Competition Committee on the new Ranking Index system, which has been developed to create close and exciting racing for all levels of ability and experience.

We took on board lots of feedback that will help us improve the new system, and plenty of pointers on how we can tailor our communications so that everyone understands how it will work.

Clean athletes. Clean sport…

We believe in clean athletes and clean sport. With this in mind, the Regional Get-Togethers included updates on the simple steps athletes and others can follow in order to comply with UK Anti-Doping guidance. Everyone was reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure they follow UK Anti-Doping guidance and where they can go to get more information or support on the topic.

Funding and governance

“I thought the whole day was extremely useful, and has given me lots of ideas to take away” P Ibbotson, Newark

With more people coming into the sport and with an ever-increasing number of event types available, clubs often require advice about funding and governance. Whether it’s helping with a funding application, or telling the difference between a CASC and a CIO, clubs were reminded at the Regional Get-Togethers that they can get in touch with British Rowing for advice – we are here to help!

So if your club is looking for additional support, check out our club support section of the website or contact your Area Participation Manager to discuss how we can help.

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