RYA Northern Ireland is celebrating clinching a prestigious award at the Active Fit and Sporty Awards at the ceremony held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belfast, just a few days before International Women’s Day.
The Active, Fit and Sporty Project aims to work strategically with a wide range of partners and key stakeholders to raise the profile of women and girls in sport and physical activity in four key areas. The object of the awards programme is to celebrate the role of the Active, Fit and Sporty project in raising awareness of participation opportunities across Northern Ireland and to honour individuals and teams who have contributed to this.
It was the first time the Female Sports Forum held the awards and RYA Northern Ireland was nominated in two categories, National Governing Body Champion Award and the Media Award.
With many worthy nominees in the running, RYA Northern Ireland was crowned the winner of the National Governing Body Champion award for its Women on Water (WOW) initiative.
RYA Northern Ireland’s Active Clubs Co-Ordinator, Lisa McCaffrey runs the programme. She commented: “We are delighted and proud to receive this award and we hope to continue to work with the Female Sports Forum to create exciting opportunities for females within sport.” Explaining the success of the WOW programme, Lisa said: “WOW began in 2016, aiming to provide a pathway for female participation within our sport. It is a fantastic opportunity for females to try sailing at low cost, concentrating on learning to sail, having fun and meet new friends.
“Since 2016 over 12 clubs and centres have been running WOW programmes, giving more than 500 participants the opportunity to get on the water. The programme has been such a success that last year we brought together a group of volunteers who organized a festival to celebrate, with over 40 women taking to the water.”
She added: “RYA Northern Ireland would like to take this opportunity to thank all our WOW clubs, centres and volunteers who have been running the WOW programmes for the last three years. “This award goes to all our boating community including clubs, centres, volunteers and all the participants.”
Jackie Patton, Chair of RYA Northern Ireland commented: “It is an honour for RYANI to be shortlisted in two categories and to receive this award. It is recognition of the dedication of our volunteers, in particular highlighting the visibility of female success within our sport. Inspiring role models can have a significant impact on participation. This is very much in evidence with our Women on Water programme."
As Afloat previously reported, the 2020 Women on Water festival is being held at Carrickfergus Sailing Club with Belfast Lough Sailability on 6 June 2020.