The RYA is delighted to be the first National Governing Body to achieve the Advanced Level of the Sports Councils' Equality Standard for Sport.
The award of the Advanced Standard recognises the RYA's commitment to increasing diversity amongst participants in sailing and boating, its staff and committees, and the progress achieved in attaining all four levels of the Standard over more than 10 years.
In meeting the Advanced Level requirements, the RYA has demonstrated that equality is mainstreamed through the organisation's functions, policies and procedures. In their report, the Sports Council Equality Group panel particularly commended the RYA on the progress achieved in the areas of disability, age and gender.
Special mention was given to RYA Sailability, which first and foremost considers the needs and abilities of the individual and successfully introduces over 53,000 young people and adults with disabilities to sailing every year.
The report highlighted a demonstrable increase in the number of women and girls participating in the sport – and significant changes to the corporate governance of the organisation, which has led to wide scale reform of both the Council and the Board of Directors with the intention of becoming far more reflective of the sport and society as a whole.
It also recognised that RYA programmes like OnBoard and Push The Boat Out make a real impact and hold significant potential for welcoming under-represented groups to the boating community.
Areas for future action and development were identified as well – specifically continuing to gather data to gain a greater understanding of participants, and challenging external perceptions of the sport, especially amongst under-represented groups such as black and ethnic minorities and the LGBT community.
RYA Chief Executive Sarah Treseder commented: “We are very proud to be the first NGB to achieve the Advanced Standard. Whilst we celebrate receiving this award today, it's important that we use it as a platform to continue the good work and reach more people from all walks of life.
“There is plenty more to do before boating participation fully reflects the diversity of the UK population and the RYA will continue to implement sustainable initiatives to work towards that longer-term goal. Boating is a sport that anyone can do, at any level, and we need to get that message out to everyone.”
Renowned disabled sailor Geoff Holt, a former Chairman of RYA Sailability who has served on the RYA Board and Council, added: “I'm delighted to have been associated with the RYA who, from an early stage, not only recognised the need for greater equality in our sport, but have worked hard to make that a reality across all elements of the organisation, from grass roots through to elite level.”
Liz Nicholl, CEO of UK Sport, said: “Congratulations to the RYA on becoming the first national governing body to achieve the Advanced Level of the Equality Standard for Sport. In doing so they have demonstrated a commitment to embedding equality throughout the organisation, which will prove fundamental to making sailing a truly inclusive sport in the UK.
"This an important milestone in the history of the Equality Standard for Sport, with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games being the only other organisation to reach this level.
“We will continue to strive to reach this impressive standard ourselves and support all UK Sport funded partners, including every Olympic and Paralympic sport, to do the same. We wish the RYA every success in their ongoing equality work."
Interested in getting afloat? 'Push the Boat Out 2016' is the perfect opportunity to find out what your local sailing club or training centre has to offer. This national event (14-22 May) will see hundreds of sailing clubs and training centres up and down the country offering free or low cost 'have a go' sailing taster sessions and open days. Why not give it a try – it might just float your boat! Find out more at www.rya.org.uk/go/ptbo
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