The conference was the first of it's kind and shared best practice from grassroot rowing initiatives across the country. Discussion and debate took place on how to set up and structure inclusive school projects and learn from others and their different models.
Love Rowing’s Chair and Foundation Director attended. We heard about successful, high impact initiatives from London Youth Rowing, Fulham Reach and Warrington Youth Rowing who are bringing rowing to many young people who would not previously have been able to try the sport. It was clear from discussions that rowing has changed the lives of so many young people. It was also clear that every participant that joined the conference - from clubs, schools and charities, whether coach, volunteer or programme manager - is passionate and committed to ensuring our sport is open to all. This was a great forum to understand more and to apply what works and what doesn't in your own environment.
If you missed it, the sessions were recorded so you can watch them here.
Follow up sessions were also held after the conference, which gave attendees the chance to interact and ask specific questions around funding and set up.
There is a lot more to do to make rowing truly accessible, but it certainly feels like the timing is now.
Love Rowing share the mission to grow our sport further - supporting clubs and starting new projects to bring in a more diverse audience across the country. We want to work with other stakeholders, charities, clubs and organisations to be even more successful.
A few key takeaways for us were:
'It doesn't need to start with the physical things, it's not all about funds. It's an attitude!'
'Rowing has a unique opportunity to abolish stereotypes.'
'Opportunity shapes futures.'
'Accessibility is a mindset.'
'You CAN have participation and performance.'
'Together we can make a real difference.'
Thank you to Warrington Youth Rowing, London Youth Rowing and the Henley Stewards Charitable Trust for helping to spread best practice and share the challenges to bring our sport to new audience.
Thinking of starting a school programme at your club?
Have a quick look at our top tips here!