Trailblazing RYA leads the way on equality

Published 17 March 2016

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has become the first National Governing Body to achieve the Advanced Level of the Sports Councils’ Equality Standard for Sport. 

The Equality Standard for Sport is a framework for assisting sports organisations to widen access and reduce inequalities in sport and physical activity from under represented individuals, groups and communities. It is based around two broad themes; developing your organisation and developing your services. The Advanced level is the highest of four levels of achievement.  

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 was 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.”

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."

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