British Rowing Inclusive Club Guide

2 Apr

One of the initiatives by British Rowing to support not only adaptive/pararowing, but also a range of populations that have to date been generally under represented, is its recent published “Inclusive Club Guide: How to make your club more inclusive and diverse”.

The section titled “Why You Should Start an Adaptive Rowing Programme” overviews the following benefits of developing adaptive/pararowing capacity at your rowing club:

  • Individual Benefits
    • New Role Models
    • Positive Attitude
    • Social and Support Networks
    • Increased Personal Reward
  • Community Benefits
    • Breaking Down Stereotypes
    • Improved Community Relationships
    • New Community Offers

Their list is a strong one, but I would personally add another entire section – “Club Benefits”:

  • Fundraising – It is much easier raising funds to support adaptive and pararowing. One of the impediments to fundraising in the sport of rowing is the perception that it is a “rich man’s sport”, ie. they don’t need my money. But people are more understanding of and willing to support the extra costs and investments entailed in providing more disabled accessibility and special adaptive equipment.
  • Lower Commitment – One of the challenges to finding resources like coaches for club squads is the commitment. Most of the rowing athletes are training for serious competition. Juniors up through vets can often train 5-7 times a week.  It can be difficult to find coaches and other support personnel who can manage this level of commitment. But many, if not most, adaptive athletes are not training as intensively.  Some clubs I know of only hold a few sessions a month. It is easier finding supporters who can devote a couple sessions a week than it is to find someone who can devote 5-7.
  • New Members – The disabled population can be an entirely new source of potential membership. Reaching out to nearby schools (eg. Manor Green) and treatment centres (eg. Stoke Mandeville) that cater to people with disabilities can introduce the sport to people who might never have considered it.
  • New Extended Members and Supporters – When many of our adaptive athletes have joined, they have often been accompanied by family members and friends who also join in either as new rowers themselves or supporters in other capacities.
  • Inspiration – Beware that the “Inspiration” thing in Adaptive/Para sport can be cliché at best and even bothersome to a few. Nonetheless, regardless of what you want to call it, there is something that affects the tone and atmosphere of the club when adaptive athletes join in. Sport is about pushing limits and your perspective is inevitably reset when someone is tackling training and performing with the burden of an impairment on top of everything else.

I’ve copied the table of contents for the Guide below for a quick reference so you can see what’s included…

  • Introduction
    • What is an inclusive club?
    • Is your club inclusive?
    • How can your club become more inclusive?
  • British Rowing support
    • The benefits of becoming an inclusive club
    • Why become an inclusive club?
    • Understanding inclusivity
    • Explaining the terminology
    • The Equality Act 2010
  • Creating an inclusive club
    • Understanding your local community
    • Creating an inclusive club environment
    • Community engagement
    • Inclusive marketing and communication
    • Club offer
    • Inclusive volunteering
    • Inclusive coaching
    • Inclusive leadership and governance
    • Cultural change and unconscious bias
  • Inclusive club resources
    • Appendix 1 – Diversity in Rowing
    • Appendix 2 – Equality Act 2010 – Protected characteristics
    • Appendix 3 – Equality Act 2010 – Types of discrimination

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