Elton Sailing Club’s ‘ladies who launch’ started in 2013 when four of the club’s female members decided to set up a ladies only session to help more women gain the confidence to get into the sport.
After running the ladies only sessions for three years, the club came on board with I Will If You Will (IWIYW) – the female fitness movement delivered by Bury Council with National Lottery funds from Sports England to get women and girls more active, more often.
As part of the partnership, Elton Sailing Club received marketing support, training and funding opportunities to help develop the club and its volunteers and access to Bounts, a digital loyalty system that rewards participants for being active.
Lisa Moore, Elton Sailing Club’s membership secretary, said: “Not many people know there is a sailing club in Bury and the marketing support we received from IWIYW has really helped to enhance the club’s profile and raise awareness.”
Eager to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get on the water, the club offers new participants a free taster session and provides all equipment and safety gear free of charge.
“Compared to more mainstream sports, like football and netball, not many people know what to expect from sailing,” explained Lisa, “so being able to try it for free is a great incentive for people who have never sailed before.”
“A lot of people are shy or nervous at their first session, but everyone is in the same boat and learns at their own pace whilst gaining confidence on the water.
“We love seeing new faces and this year 35 ladies took to the water for the first time, many of which have gone on to become members and buy their own boats so they can get out on the water as much as possible.”
There’s also a huge social benefit to joining the club, Lisa explains: “Being part of the club means you’re part of the team and once a month we all go out for a meal and we are even planning a sailing holiday in 2016.
“Several of us have also been making the most of other I Will If You Will activities in Bury and going to netball together, so we’re all trying new things and getting more active.”
To enhance the club’s facilities and equipment, Elton Sailing Club successfully bid for £297 from the IWIYW Community Fund, which aims to support local constituted groups and voluntary organisations.
The funding went towards buying 10 new buoyancy aids to keep the club up to date with health and safety regulations, assuring top quality sailing and peace of mind for all members.
After finding out the funding bid was successful, Lisa said: “The club desperately needed new buoyancy aids and without the IWIYW Community Fund, we would have had to find ways to fundraise which can be very difficult and time consuming.
“Working in partnership with IWIYW has been great for Elton Sailing Club and this year ‘ladies who launch’ has been bigger and better than ever.
“We currently have four female assistant instructors, but our aim is to equip more women with the skills and training needed to become qualified sailing instructors.”
For the ladies who launch, the fun doesn’t stop when the sailing season comes to an end during the winter months.
To help keep members active when the it’s too cold and dark to take the boats out on the reservoir, the Club sought help from IWIYW to set up a weekly Pilates class.
Members of the Club thought Pilates would be a great alternative to Sailing as it aims to strengthen the whole body and improve flexibility, with particular emphasis on improving posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility.
Utilising the facilities available at Elton Sailing Club, IWIYW helped the Club find a qualified Pilates instructor and provided funding to cover the cost of the instructor for the first six weeks until the activity became sustainable.
Within just three months, the Pilates class became so popular amongst members and non-members alike, that the Club has added another evening Pilates session to its weekly activity timetable.