The Paddle Support Package launched by Paddle Australia and its six State Paddle Associations in May has been warmly embraced by the paddling community with the different support elements of the package seeing a great uptake over the last few weeks.
“The Package was put together based on feedback from our paddling clubs on the key impacts of COVID-19 and to help our community. We are very pleased that the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Paddle Australia CEO Phil Jones said.
“The impact of COVID-19 on our Clubs and paddlers was quickly apparent and Paddle Australia and our State Associations recognised that we needed to find ways to help our united paddling community keep their heads above water.
“We wanted those people who’ve been affected quite seriously by this pandemic to be able to stay connected to their Clubs, their sport and the benefits of paddling. The responses we’ve had, as well as the uptake the Support Package show that it was the right thing to do,” Jones said.
“This important initiative has focused on providing real value for our members and assisting Clubs to get through this time and be well supported as sporting activities re-start around the country. Just as we want to keep everyone healthy, we want our Clubs and paddling communities to get through this and thrive on the other side.
“The solidarity and support we’ve seen within our community over the last few weeks has been wonderful. We would like to thank everyone for their support so far,” Jones added.
A core element of the Paddle Support Package was the establishment of the Paddle On Foundation to help those members of our community most severely impacted by COVID-19 to join or maintain membership of their Club and continue paddling.
Since the launch of the Paddle On Foundation over $14,000 has been raised towards the $20,000 fundraising target through several generous stand-alone donations. Also, over 25% of those paddlers that have renewed their membership this month have taken the opportunity to donate back the 25% discount on their state and national fee currently offered on their membership.
Through this outstanding support, the Foundation has already been able to support several members and their families to be able to renew their memberships this year.
“I am so appreciative of this financial aid and it will not only relieve the financial burden but also support positive mental health of the family. Participating in sports together and training for an event gives life purpose in dark times and by our canoe club membership continuing, we will continue in healthy habits when restrictions lift,” a thank you note from one of the benefactors read.
Applications for support via the Paddle On Foundation can be made here: https://bit.ly/PaddleOnFoundation
“The establishment of the Paddle On Foundation is a wonderful initiative as it helps clubs to retain members who may otherwise struggle to continue their memberships if they’re experiencing real hardships,” Joy Robinson, Registrar and Social Secretary at Manly Warringah Kayak Club in NSW said.
“It also helps attract and retain juniors whose families may be facing serious choices about how to spend their reduced finances at the moment. We want to keep the younger generation of paddlers in the sport and in their clubs and the Paddle Support Package benefits and The Paddle On Foundation can help keep young people paddling now and into the future,” Robinson added.
The Paddle On Foundation is run with the support of the Australian Sports Foundation and tax-deductible donations can be made here: https://asf.org.au/projects/paddle-australia/
To join a club or for membership renewal see here https://bit.ly/GoMembershipPaddleAus
Coaching and Education Support
While financial support through the Foundation as well as through the 25% membership discount are important parts of the Paddle Support Package, the free upskilling opportunities on offer have also been well received.
As part of the support package, free online access to the “Introduction to Coaching” course has been granted to club members and Paddle Australia’s Participation and Training Manager Mark Thurgood was thrilled with the uptake.
“It’s been great to see the number of people upskilling and getting their coaching qualifications. We had over 300 people interested in this offer so far and in the first 24 hours alone, we had 30 registrations and 3 completed all requirements straight away. In total, we have now over 90 program registrations with currently 20 having completed all requirements and qualified as Introductory Coaches who will be able to support their clubs in the process of relaunching their activities and offers to members. This is a very exciting outcome and a great investment in the future and growing our paddling community,” Mark Thurgood said.
The free member offer to “Introduction to Coaching” is still ongoing and members who complete all course elements by 30 September 2020 will receive 12 months free registration as an Introductory Coach. Follow link here to register: https://bit.ly/IntroductionToCoaching
In addition, a three-month extension for all current Paddle Australia qualification holders was granted given qualifications could not be used for a while. Qualification end dates have been automatically extended.
For more information on the Paddle Support Package, visit the Paddle Australia Support Package website