It’s been a while since my last newsletter, things have been very busy at WYR with lots going on. I will outline our plans for the future below, which I hope you will find as exciting as I do.
I can begin by saying that the whole Team have had a couple of get togethers. Our first one being a training session for all the Trustees, Volunteers and Coaches. It was a valuable session and one of the few chances we all have to get together; as well as undergoing training, many tales were swapped and experiences shared. Our most recent event happened in mid-November and was our annual fund-raising dinner at Mere Court Hotel. A great time was had by all and the support from the wider rowing community was very much appreciated. Steve O’Connor was our main speaker and he enlightened a spell bound room with tales of the great work that Fulham are doing with the prison service amongst their other activities.
Sadly, Covid saw off our competitions this calendar year, but we have plans in place to make sure they return in 2022. Our indoor competition will once again be at Birchwood High School on Thursday 27th of January. Schools, please make a note of this date and start booking transport and making all other arrangements. A very early guess at timings would suggest 9.30am till 2.30pm. The main aim of the Event will be to pick our year 8 teams to go to London for the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships on Friday March 4th. We will select three teams for this trip, one from WYR, MYR and NYR. We may also send a SEN team, if we can make the finance and logistics work. As well as the year 8 competition on the 27th of January, we will also run races for other year groups, so please feel free to bring them along. This will be a big event for the youngsters, we hope to have up to 30 schools and 450 students taking part.
We will be ending our school year with a regatta on Wednesday 6th July, on the River Mersey at Warrington Rowing Club. This is for all of our schools and should be a great occasion, the rowers can invite friends and families to come and watch their newly found skills. It will start at 3pm and finish at 6ish depending on the race schedule.
I am delighted to report that our new home for Mersey Youth Rowing is working very well, we now have ten sessions a week from a mix of Liverpool and Wirral Schools. We are hosted by Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club and they have been most helpful allowing us the run of their club during the day. Interestingly, all of our coaches at MYR are students and this was a bit of a leap of faith, but I am very impressed with the way they conduct themselves and impart their knowledge to the young rowers.
Northwich Youth Rowing got going with schools from all over Cheshire joining Knutsford, who were able to make a start last year. We are still talking with a number of other schools from the area and it is hoped more will join us soon. Northwich Rowing Club have embraced this project and are the perfect hosts. Their coaching gang are all veteran rowers and as with the students at Liverpool Vics they delight in creating bonds with the youngsters that enable them to make the sessions enjoyable. In the last couple of weeks NYR have just taken on a group of teenage Afghan Refugees; it takes great skill to get through to them but the smiles and fist pumps make it all worthwhile.
Our expansion plans are ongoing with our new base. In September 2022 we will be establishing Greater Manchester Youth Rowing which will be based at Agecroft Rowing Club. This is a good fit for our growth plans, Agecroft are a club that we know well and their base in Salford is well positioned to serve local schools. We are in the process of establishing a coaching team for GMYR, we are still a few short so please let me know if there is anybody interested.
Warrington goes from strength to strength and benefits from having a bit more history than the new sites. Getting going at the start of the academic year is much easier as they know what is involved to make the most of the project.
Warrington Rowing Club have benefited from having a steady flow of new junior members transfer from WYR. One of the girls from the 2nd year of the project has just finished 5th in GB Junior Sculling Trials and looks set for a fruitful 2022 season. Her colleague, also from WYR has just signed a Scholarship to study in the USA. More promising athletes are following in their footsteps.
During the summer of 2021 we tried to run a summer camp, with varying degrees of success. Next year we are going to modify the camps and pick 10 youngsters from all the schools at each site. They will be selected for the camp with the expectation that they will be interested in joining the host club’s junior section at the end of the course.
We also continued with our ongoing programme of Coach Education during the summer of 2021. Another batch of new teachers are now qualified as BR level 2 Session Coaches and some of them went onto complete their RYA Powerboat Course as well.
Our much-trumpeted study with Liverpool John Moores University has at last started. Some of the coaches and school leads will by now have had an email from the academics running the study and indeed, the first interviews should be taking place this week. Fingers crossed we should have some valuable data in a couple of years.
Ben and I have been heavily involved, with London Youth Rowing and Henley Stewards Charitable Trust in a project called Rocking the Boat. This was a video-style conference event that was intended to highlight the outreach work going on in the country and encourage more people to get involved. Feedback indicates that it was well received and we are involved in plans for next year. As part of this process Ben and I have been involved with other schemes around the country, lending a hand with our experience and knowledge of the last few years.
I will close by reminding you about ‘Easy fundraising’, if you don’t already support any other cause, please list Warrington Youth Rowing. It will cost you nothing but will be a great help to us.