Toby Bryant |

Clubs and the Covid effect

As the new season gets going, Toby Bryant talks to six clubs across the country to find out about their life after the heat of the pandemic

In early March 2020, rowing clubs were going about their daily lives, looking ahead to a promising regatta season as a Covid-sized cloud loomed threateningly overhead.

Murmurs of the pandemic came from far-flung countries and, as rowers clambered into boats and tightened gates, few thought the virus would have a major impact in the UK.

Then, almost overnight, rowing clubs were forced to hand out rowing machines, close their doors and bid goodbye to members for a month.

Except, it wasn’t to be a month, it would be 18 and it is only now that the country’s clubs are fully whirring back into action.

As life returns to normal, it’s understandable that the overwhelming feeling is one of optimism and a desire to put the pandemic in the past. However, for many clubs, life will never be the same.

Luckily, thanks to supportive members, financial grants and robust committees, most British clubs weathered the storm. In that process, the way our clubs work has changed so we spoke to six across the country to find out how they coped and what the future looks like.


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