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Sailing clubs in Northern Ireland get RYA support with a surge in membership

by Emma Blee 19 Aug 2022 15:27 BST
RYA Northern Ireland has announced that it will be offering seven clubs extra support through its Active Clubs programme © RYANI

With a surge of people taking to the water this Summer, there has been an increase in demand for courses at sailing clubs right across Northern Ireland.

RYA Northern Ireland has announced that it will be offering seven clubs extra support through its Active Clubs programme. Clubs will get development support and guidance clubs to help deliver activity for both members and non-members.

RYA Northern Ireland’s Active Clubs co-ordinator Lisa McCaffrey explains: “In 2020, we saw the impact of Covid when we got the date back from the RYA Membership Census - an annual survey completed by Affiliated clubs. We saw there was a five per cent drop from the previous year – this wasn’t a shock as there was no activity at the clubs.

“With restrictions easing in 2021, lots of people were attracted to the sport and many members returned. We saw a four per cent increase in members to 9,370. Many clubs worked hard to adapt to new arrangements and were creative in developing interesting and engaging activities for members and new participants and this has paid off.

“At RYA Northern Ireland we recognise this hard work and dedication and we really appreciate our clubs going the extra mile to promote the sport. We are now delighted to announce that we will be offering extra support to seven clubs and we look forward to ensuring that they continue to attract members and provide a fantastic experience for their existing members.”

Lisa adds: “The development of programmes like the Active Clubs programme highlights the importance of clubs completing the membership census each year. This census provides an insights into all NI clubs, as well as clubs all over the UK. This data is reported to our funders Sport NI and allows us to continue supporting clubs with relevant and useful programmes.

“Our clubs already do so much in terms of activity and this programme provides a bit of support through funding, staff time and attendance at events and promotion. It is great to be able to get back out to clubs and support our volunteers, chat with participants with the goal of retaining members.”

The clubs that were awarded funding were:

  • Ballyronan Boat Club – Wacky Races
  • Belfast Lough Sailability – Race Development
  • County Antrim Yacht Club – Skills Refresher
  • Newcastle Yacht Club – Intro to Dinghy Sailing (Juniors and Adults)
  • Lough Erne Yacht Club Sailability – Club Sailability
  • Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club – OnBoard Dinghy Development
  • Strangford Sailing Club – SSC Adult Sailing for novices

To find out more about these programmes and for information on how to get in the Active Clubs Programme, please contact

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