Many sailors are slowly returning to the water as the lockdown eases, but they have kept in touch by taking part in RYA Northern Ireland’s virtual forums, learning more about support, opportunities for funding and other important updates.
The club development forums were created by the governing body to connect with affiliated clubs and centres. So far over 20 Northern Ireland clubs and centres have been attending virtually.
RYA Northern Ireland’s Chief Operating Officer Richard Honeyford commented: “Lockdown has led to some very constructive and important discussions within the boating community through the RYA Northern Ireland forums. We’ve covered a wide range of different topics, from NI government advice to funding opportunities and Q&A sessions on the main issues facing our sport. During such a rapidly changing environment, we recognised the need to keep communications open to help address challenges and share valuable learning”.
He went on “We are continuing to provide guidance to clubs and centres on the latest government advice, which allows our members to make informed decisions about how their club is operating as government restrictions ease.”
The most recent forum on Tuesday 9 June provided clubs with discussions on how to safely return to recreational boating activity.
Ballyholme Yacht Club provided a valuable insight into their own journey to ‘Returning to Boating’ and discussed their Covid-19 team approach, which was set up under RYA guidance. Clubs taking part in the forum were given the opportunity to discuss Ballyholme’s journey and explain their own plans.
Lisa McCaffrey, RYA Northern Ireland’s Active Clubs Co-ordinator, commented: “I really miss visiting the clubs during the sailing season so getting the opportunity to connect has been super. The forums give us a chance to explain the work that we are doing including providing guidance to our clubs and centres within the various activities that we cover.”
Further forums are planned, and these will focus on returning to racing, returning to training and further volunteer development, sailability and cruising workshops.