All clubs present, (the Jurassic League clubs) understand that the way gig rowing is administered and governed needs to change; that the current volunteer led organisation is unsustainable and that a structure needs to be put in place to enable gig rowing to continue to flourish and grow.
The demographics of many coastal communities, are reflected in the membership of the gig clubs with many fit and active over 50’s. Many make the decision that they do not want to invest the necessary time to row competitively but still are committed, experienced gig rowers. Together these members form the backbone of the clubs. Every rower wants to develop, improve and be the best they can be.
Gig rowing is hugely important to its local community, providing a social and physical activity resource which can benefit people from all ages and backgrounds.
- There are concerns that the proposals being discussed do not indicate a sufficient understanding of the realities many clubs face.
- Lack of volunteers – many of the clubs are being run by those ‘keen’ rowers in the more ‘mature’ age categories
- A high percentage of many clubs, certainly in the Jurassic league clubs, are over the age of 50
- Shortage of coxes, without whom the clubs cannot row – the need for cox training.
- Gig rowing is characterised by an independent spirit
- There is little to encourage most/many members to see the additional personal investment suggested as worthwhile.
- It is likely, that in some clubs, the proposals may result in membership levels reducing considerably.
- Gig rowing needs to continue to develop for all ages and at all levels (not sure that Olympic aspirations are appropriate).
- We would like to see development of competitive ‘masters’ rowing and even ‘grand masters’ as we progress into our dotage. This would reflect the community aspect of clubs which we value so highly.
Possible alternative solutions:?
- Move organically towards the longer term aim – start with a paid administrator, funded by the clubs – looking for ways to grow the organisation.
The Jurassic Coast clubs would like to request that thought is given to the following
- the CPGA take a slower pace towards any changes (allowing clubs to recover from the pandemic)
- we wait until COVID restrictions are removed to enable clubs to meet and discuss face to face, any proposed changes; this will enable a proper, constructive interaction amongst members.
- CPGA trustees come to talk to members in the regions to answer their questions?? May be an impossible ask?
- there is recognition of the differences between clubs and consideration is taken of this
- discussions are re-opened with British Rowing to see if an agreement could be reached where an already established organisation takes on some of the responsibilities
In conclusion, the Jurassic Coast clubs wish to support the CPGA in its endeavours to enhance the professionalism of the sport but would ask that the proposals are revisited to reflect the community elements of this unique sport.
Bridport Gig Club
Combwich Gig Club
Exmouth Gig Club
Langstone Gig Club
Lyme Regis Gig Club
Poole Gig Club
Portland Gig Club
Sidmouth Gig Club
Swanage Gig Club