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It has been said that “It takes a village to raise a child”, it is hard to trace the origins of this quote but it is safe to say that in our sport “it takes an army of volunteers to raise a champion”. Volunteers in our sport are so important in running clubs, in coaching, in organising and running events and in keeping our athletes safe. All aspects of our sport have flourished over the years due to the commitment from our volunteers.

If we look at the careers of our Olympic medalist, or our multiple World Champions, you will get an idea of how many volunteers have had an impact on their rowing lifespan.

From the time they started rowing they would have been a member of a club that had many volunteers coaching and running the club. Giving lifts, fundraising for equipment, coaching, safety launch driving, cleaning, repairing, each year clubs would call on 40 to 50 volunteers giving hundreds of volunteer hours. Then those same athletes start to compete at local and domestic regattas, these regattas involve hundreds of volunteers and thousands of volunteer hours to ensure these events are run in a safe, fair and competitive manner. Food, commentators, race committee, umpires, stakeboat holders, time keepers, parking attendants, slip marshals, launch drivers, all giving of their time for the safe enjoyment of the participants and helping to prepare our world best athletes for future victory. When you then take into consideration the preparation and organising of junior representative teams and competitions and then senior competitions, even world and Olympic championships, you are moving into millions of volunteer hours to create an Olympic and World champion.

The Irish Rowing Championships will be held in the NRC this July and it will involve well over a hundred volunteers over the two weekends and the many thousands of volunteer hours put into organising and delivering a world class event. Our sport and our rowing champions could not and would not reach the amazing success it has without you, our volunteers.

As an organisation we have many functioning committees, Offshore, Coastal, Safety Advisory, Domestic events, Umpires, Championships, Universities and many others with a large number of volunteers giving freely of their time and expertise to ensure the smooth and consistent running of our sport. Indeed, the Board of Rowing Ireland is made up of volunteers operating at a strategic level to guarantee we have a future vision for the sport of rowing.

Rowing Ireland acknowledges the tremendous effort and the wonderful support our volunteers give to our sport. Rowing Ireland works behind the scenes to ensure our volunteers are protected and are given the opportunity to participate, enjoy and excel in the sport of rowing. Rowing Ireland’s extensive coach education program, safety webinars, events support, women on the water programs, child safeguarding policies and vetting, get going get rowing programs are all there to support our volunteers. 

Rowing Ireland thanks our many volunteers whom without them, we could not achieve the level of success domestically and internationally that we have. Rowing currently receives a tremendous amount of funding from Sport Ireland because of our continued success on the world and Olympic stage, we would not have obtained these successes without you our proud and appreciated legion of volunteers.

So, the next time you see our world class rowers such as Sanita, Paul and Fintan among many others receiving their medals and the symbolic handshake remember, that handshake is also for you, as a volunteer you played an important part in the development of that athlete and contributed hugely to the success of our athletes and our proud organisation.

It takes thousands of volunteers to create a single Olympic or World Champion.

Thank you for being involved.

Clubs are a very important part of Rowing Ireland and they are crucial to our future. Having clubs that are self-sufficient and forward thinking will make the future brighter.

Rowing Ireland are also there to support and help our clubs through initiatives we provide such as Women In Sport, which includes webinars and the Women on the Water program, the Get Going Get Rowing program which has seen huge success introducing schools and others to our sport, our excellent Coach Education system which has been continuously improved and developed over the years and continued with a hybrid model through Covid-19 to further support our coaches. Rowing Ireland also provides Garda Vetting and Safeguarding to ensure the safety of all our members within the clubs. Finally, Rowing Ireland also help with any queries or issues involved with events and help support our clubs to make the days as fun and enjoyable for everyone as we can.

How does a club become self-sufficient?

Funding is an integral issue when we talk about clubs becoming self-sufficient. How many committee hours have been spent asking the question how do we fund our club? With less money being made available to national governing bodies and clubs through government funds, clubs have to be inventive in how to make income for their club to pay for overheads and for upkeep and upgrading of our fleets.

Increase in annual membership subscription is one way but, everyone is struggling with the rapid rise in the cost of living so for some clubs this may not be an option. As a club, you should consider the product you are offering your members. Your members get access to tens of thousands of euro worth of equipment, club houses, dressing rooms, hundreds of hours of safe, enthusiastic, qualified coaching and entry to regulated and competitive competition for all ages. When our clubs set their membership subscription, they should not sell themselves short the product and services you provide to your members and the community is of a very high standard.

Other funding streams come in the form of fundraising and sponsorship, as our clubs grow and the infrastructure becomes larger and more modern, there may be opportunities to rent the premises for meetings, parties, exercise session or community gatherings. Even small clubs may be able to offer space to other organisations that will see a mutual benefit for both parties. Many clubs now have a lotto system running that brings in money every week., other clubs run regattas or competitions to bring in funding. Running a 5K or 10K road race or triathlon may also bring in much needed revenue to help clubs become self-sufficient.

Our members are our strongest assets, it is important that we communicate with our members so they understand the value of your product and the cost of maintaining and running a rowing club. If your members are aware of the cost of running a club, they will be more willing to help in the fundraising and may even have access to funding streams that the committee did not already explore. The worst words for a committee to hear after putting a huge amount of time and effort into planning, delivering, and hosting an event, is to hear one of the club members say “oh! You should have told me you were doing that, sure I have access to all that equipment or funding that you required, why didn’t you tell me?”

Our strongest assets as a sport, a community, a club is our volunteers. Rowing clubs have survived for hundreds of years due to the time and effort put in by many wonderful, inventive, passionate and organised volunteers. For a club to become or remain self-sufficient we must continue to encourage, recognize and support our volunteers. There are very few if any clubs in a position to pay all their coaches for the hours and hours of coaching and mentoring of our athletes. For a club to be self-sufficient we must create an atmosphere where our volunteers, our athletes, our coaches and our officials feel wanted and a part of the future of your club and a future of rowing in Ireland.

Following the EGM on Sunday 20th February 2022 a number of rule changes were passed by Rowing Ireland clubs.

According to our constitution these changes should be brought to the next RI AGM.

The next RI AGM is scheduled for October 2022. Therefore we propose that changes as voted by clubs should be brought to the board who can bring them in as temporary rule changes in advance of the AGM.

The rules also will incur significant changes to our tracker system and an outline document for this and the specific rule changes as voted on Sunday will need to be written for Rowing Ireland IT provider in order to make these complex changes.

At present all existing rules (prior to Sunday 20th February 2022) will stay in place until both these actions have been completed.

Once these actions take place Rowing Ireland will update our clubs accordingly so that there is ample notice of the changes. We will also update Clubs as soon as possible with an exact timescale once in place.

We really appreciate your cooperation and support during the changeover.

At present all existing rules (prior to Sunday 20th February 2022) will stay in place until both these actions have been completed. Once these actions take place Rowing Ireland will update our clubs accordingly.

Please see the minutes of the EGM below, attached to this announcement is the original proposal documents sent to all clubs.

The new rules document is being prepared and will issued by the board of Rowing Ireland in due course.

Please be aware THESE RULE CHANGES ARE NOT YET IN EFFECT

Downloads

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    Download 25th February, 2022

Rowing Ireland’s EGM will be held on Sunday 20th February at the Conference Centre, National Sports Campus in Abbottstown.

Each club wishing to attend this meeting must register its intention to attend by 17th February 2022. On registration,, you must state your secretary’s name attending or otherwise delegate from your club.

Clubs whose Secretary or Member cannot attend should appoint a delegate at a club committee meeting and return a scan or photo of the signed form to clubsupport@rowingireland.ie and secretary@rowingireland.ie before 10 pm on 17th February. The originals can be handed in at the AGM.

That form can be found in the download section below and has been sent to all registered clubs directly.

EGM Delegate Registration

(Person attending the EGM on behalf of the Club)
(In case we need to contact you regarding arrangements for the EGM)

Downloads

A reminder for clubs that the mandatory Club Self-Assessment Child Safeguarding Audit is to be completed by the 18th of February. The self-assessment process is compulsory for all clubs that have children or young members below the age of 18 in their membership.

Rowing Ireland wishes to support all clubs in this process and has prepared a range of templates and documents to assist you. A pack has been prepared and shared that contains the following documents:
• Video for Clubs completing the questionnaire
• Safeguarding Guidance document (Republic of Ireland Clubs, Sport Ireland)
• Step by step actions for clubs
• Useful Resources document
• Club framework for safeguarding standards in sport (Northern Ireland Clubs, Sport Northern
Ireland).

Additional useful documentation and resource information can be found on the Vetting and Safeguarding page of the website (click here). We have also created a new page on our website to share the editable versions of template documents, which can be adapted to suit individual clubs, and the documents listed above (click here).

The closing date for the audit is the 18th of February 2022.