STAGING Curlew’s online clubhouse keeps community together - British Rowing

Curlew’s online clubhouse keeps community together

As the Covid-19 lockdown continues, a key priority for Curlew Rowing Club is their members’ well-being


Based in East London on the bank of the River Thames at Greenwich, Curlew Rowing Club has set up an online clubhouse via Slack to keep its 150 members informed and engaged.

“Slack is going really well,” says Emily Wilsher, club information officer.


“We have about 70 people using it and our coach Alex Brown posts home workouts every day which really helps.

“It’s been really good for me. One day not training leads to two days not training, but then Alex dropping me a line really helps to keep me motivated.”

The club is keen to look after the well-being of everyone, including prospective members.

Emily says: “The learn to row course attendees were in the middle of their course when the lockdown happened, so they had to stop. We’re trying to keep them engaged as well and they’ve been asking lots of questions – what to do on the rowing machines and with weights, and how to do certain movements etc.”

The Curlew committee chose Slack because the design looked better and had useful options for their virtual clubhouse, including direct and private messaging, sharing links and video calling. They wanted to be able to really interact with the membership rather than sending out mass emails which had the danger of becoming a one-way conversation.

In addition to his home workouts, Alex also holds a Zoom call every so often for the club where anyone can join in the chat and also calls individual members to check how things are going.

We had a bingo quiz last week which was fun with club kit as prizes

One of the coaches had coronavirus but, luckily, has now recovered fully. Club members also include some doctors and nurses working on the frontline in Covid-19 wards.

Emily says: “It’s been really nice to see how people are getting on and Alex makes sure that everyone has the chance to talk.

“Feedback from the Zoom call is really good and I think people really appreciate Alex’s efforts.”

If anyone loses their job then we make sure that they don’t lose their membership

On a lighter note, the social team – Ed, Stu and Tom – also host a regular quiz on Zoom with over 30 people taking part so far.

Club tips

Club volunteers are coming up with innovative ways to keep their clubs connected and support the local community during the lockdown. Read more here.

“We had a bingo quiz last week which was fun with club kit as prizes. And ‘It’s who wants to be a millionaire’ next week. The quizzes have gone down really well. And of course, we’ve also swapped pet pictures!”

Curlew is determined to support members as much as possible with reduced membership fees during the lockdown.

Emily adds: “If anyone loses their job then we make sure that they don’t lose their membership – they still have access to Slack and the community support available through it.

“We want to make sure that everyone can come back to the real clubhouse when things open again.”