Update from our Chair – Jay Lambe

The CPGA has provided further information and have undertaken to do so in response to all queries.

The session had 12 of us with Caradon , Helford, and Lyme represented.

I raised the following questions on behalf of the Club and myself in Orange. There were other questions but all on the same theme so I have not logged those.

The timescales have slowed and many Clubs haven’t even raised this with members.

A few Clubs were quite agitated about this. I think Exmouth recognise a need for a proper strategy and regional structure to support, improve and grow the sport-but there is still insufficient detail that is embedded anywhere to make an informed decision yet.

There will be other Q+A’s so it will be interesting to see how that pans out.

1. When was the brief for this work developed?. 

Ann Curnow Claire and Claire Tripp started work on a draft document in 2016.

2. Who was involved in the scoping of this work?

The Trustees and focus groups.These were clubs invited to discussion based on CPGA diversification model(particular attributes of different clubs and member make up).

3. Who are the Trustees.

The Trustees were named and a point made following the AGM on 17th January that two further Trustees had been appointed, one from Clevedon and one from London. This was in response to a comment that the whole exercise appeared very Cornwall centric to date. This was refuted and we were reminded that Cornish Pilot Gig was the type of boat. It was suggested that members look at P.40 of the proposal re: Regional structures.

4. How was Kevin Brownridge selected

Claire Tripp had worked with him elsewhere and he did development work in Cornwall. A small contract was made for a manifesto to be drawn up to include scoping out and key themes to lever on investment to support the development of  strategy. Funding was secured from Cornwall Council and the LEP and Kevin was retained thereafter to help develop the strategy.

5. If members are not supportive of proposals is there a Plan B?

No Plan B at present. One Club offered that the present proposals could initiate splits within clubs between social and competitive rowers as all rowers were charged £30.

In answer it had been suggested originally that only competitive rowers make a contribution but apparently this was rejected as a proposition by the focus groups.

6. What % of the annual fee currently paid goes to British Rowing?

Previously it was the ARA (Amatuer Rowing Association) which morphed in BR at some point. At the time 90/150 was paid by CPGA for all Clubs. However when CPGA became a CIO BR did not re-write the SLA so CPGA have taken the view no fees are payable as no contract exists. It is unlikely we will be affiliated and BR is still requesting payment.

7. Do I need to pay £30 to row-in whatever guise.

Yes, but CPGA considering whether new members get a refund or tiered/waiver system is used. Essentially if you don’t pay you don’t row. It could be regarded as a ‘racing licence’. Caradon offered that they don’t have any social rowers.

8. What is the value to non racers?

CPGA are looking to provide more non competitive and mixed events, and off course there is the insurance, discounts and so on. 

9. Where does the £30 go?

Not confirmed as yet, but may go direct as a payment to CPGA.

10. Some clubs have life members, what happens there?

Life members can choose not to pay or a waiver system may be introduced for certain categories of rowers and circumstances. Yet to be clarified.

11. As an individual, having paid my individual fee, how am I represented?.

The Clubs are the members representatives.

12. Is the £30 a subscription or a membership fee?.

(I haven’t recorded an answer here-but dont think it was answered as people all had mics on and talking over each other.)

13. Why not look at other options – have you considered a share offer?

No but it’s a good idea.

14. How are smaller clubs expected to respond where membership fees are already an issue? What about a proportional fee?

A sliding scale to annual membership could be considered.

15. How is disparity in Club size managed when Clubs cannot grow due to location/boats etc? 

See above.

16. In the new regime will there be prize money for racing if everyone is paying to row?

It used to be the case, but hasn’t been for many years. It could be reviewed.

17. What about Regional Leagues. Some Clubs prefer to race elsewhere-Lyme like to race against Cornwall Clubs not just in Jurassic league

Consideration is being given to more regional leagues with more racing in those localities so people do not have to travel for several hours to compete in a 20 minute race. Clubs are able to race in other leagues or competition now depending on organisers requirements (certain crews only, by invitation etc). CPGA wants to firm up on the practice of running racing and umpiring.

18. What about standards?

CPGA wants to create ‘pathways’ for athletes. Lots going on with Coastal rowing at the moment and coastal rowing popular in many countries. The top 20% of Clubs are very competitive. Caradon confirmed they and Falmouth for example already train 7 days a week. Likely to look at having more balanced competition relative to ability/standard. Clubs of equal standing make for better competition/spectators.

19.The strategy is all about the sport being recognised and becoming ‘professional’. What is the intention behind this?

Other fixed seat rowing is recognised, like dragon boating, and they have far fewer members than CPGA. New Clubs are emerging all the time and the sport is growing, both nationally and internationally. It is therefore important to have a structure and governance that respects that and can support thta. Consideration being given to join a fixed seat collaborative and apply to Sport England. If funding is forthcoming then the sports status is recognised by the other sports councils in Wales, Ireland and Scotland. This greater recognition and collaboration is seen to have other benefits.

20.What are these benefits?

All Clubs could benefit from greater purchasing power, and as a result obtain better deals from insurers, kit suppliers, pontoon builders etc.

21. Part of the appeal of gig rowing is its access to all. Our concern is that the ‘professionalising’ of the sport will alienate people especially older /non competitive rowers and softer benefits around health and well being could be lost.

CPGA recognises the positives of the sport and is looking to cement those with more activities and events for rowers of all standards and rowing preference. Ideas and clarity will emerge as the strategy develops.

22.Have the CPGA explored Government Procurement rules around ‘social value’ where 25% of  a contract has to be or support social value?

No, but will take  look.

23. National County Champs?

We will look to run a different interleague for winners.

The CPGA understands comments around the poor timing of the launch of the strategy but work was underway well before lockdown which no one could have predicted. However CPGA did want to take advantage of funding opportunities to underpin the strategy work in order to secure funding in due course from Sport England or other organisations. It was felt a clear strategy was needed to do that.

More information will be released over the coming weeks and we will adopt collaborative timelines to get to agreement. There is no rush, what is proposed has to be the right solution for all.

Queries to come to Ann Curnow Care. Answers and updates will continue to be released to Clubs in the usual way.