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RYA appoint new non-executive Independent Safeguarding Advisor

by RYA 13 Jun 16:00 BST
James Avery - RYA's new non-executive, Independent Safeguarding Advisor © RYA

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is pleased to welcome James Avery to the role of non-executive, Independent Safeguarding Advisor.

In this role James will chair the Safeguarding Steering Group on policy development and drive the RYA safeguarding action plan, while also advising and supporting teams on case management.

James succeeds Mandy Viggers who stepped down in December 2022 after four-years dedicated support as the Safeguarding Steering Group's independent Chair. The RYA is deeply grateful and thanks Mandy for her professionalism and insight - her progressive outlook and counsel strengthened the safeguarding agenda at the RYA.

In supporting its desire to embed a strong culture of safety, continuous development, and integrity, the RYA is undertaking an independent safeguarding, culture, and integrity review. LimeCulture will conduct the review, using their insight and recommendations to build upon the safeguarding foundations.

Commenting on joining the RYA, James said: "I'm starting from a solid base - the team is forward-thinking and capable, and I'm impressed by how central safeguarding is to the leadership and their decision to undertake the review will pay dividends as we strive to identify where improvements can be made. The changing regulations and greater awareness increasing demand on the team makes for a real challenge, so my immediate priority is to understand the complexity of RYA operations and to encourage the sharing of safeguarding best practice amongst our sport and wider sector."

From his NHS role as Director of Nursing, James has a wealth of experience and strong record of service delivery in challenging environments. As a sailor and Commodore of a sailing club, James knows the benefits of spending time on the water: "It's remarkable the effects that sailing and boating can have on your mental well-being - relieving stress, building confidence, and creating a sense of independence. It's an honour to be involved in a sport and recreational activity which can add so much value to people's lives."

Sara Sutcliffe, RYA CEO, said: "Creating a safe and welcoming environment for everyone involved in on water activity is a core value and priority for the RYA. We're thrilled to welcome James Avery as our new Independent Safeguarding Advisor. He brings a fresh perspective and knowledge that will steer RYA practices and embed a culture of safeguarding across all we do, reflecting the values that we and our members expect."

James chairs his first Safeguarding Steering Group meeting this month.

For more information and safeguarding guidance, visit the RYA Safeguarding hub on the RYA website.

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