Main Award – Anthony Coghlan

Anthony has made a long-term commitment to Dudley Water Sports Club and is a truly inspirational volunteer.

Please click here to watch his nomination video and below is his nomination, plus photos from the evening.


Volunteering Activity:

Tony has been a prime mover in the incorporation of Water Sports Centre to enable the constituent water sports clubs (Water Skiing; Sailing; Sub Aqua) to secure Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) status with HM Revenue and Customs. This enabled the Centre to make longer term financial plans which translated into a fundraising drive and the development of a capital scheme that replaced changing and ancillary facilities and created a new training room at a cost of some £60,000.

The new facilities were followed by an expansion of the activities on site and the creation of Dudley Rowing Club in a partnership venture with Dudley MBC and British Rowing.

Tony has been the catalyst behind the developments and he has been instrumental in bringing them to a conclusion.

Tony is promoting a Community Asset Transfer (CAT) arrangement at Lodge Farm Reservoir which would enable the Water Sports Centre to take greater control of the site and allow the Centre to further develop.

Reason for nomination:

The Water Sports Centre use the facility at Lodge Farm Reservoir primarily for water sports activities. These comprise sailing, rowing, open water swimming, scuba diving and water ski. If there is a local demand then the Centre may seek to extend the range of activities with Tony leading the way.

The clubhouse and the new meeting room/training facility is available for community use and Tony is keen to ensure that local people access the site.

Tony and other Club officials want to improve and invest in the facilities and will seek grant funding and recognise the importance of and the need for long term security of tenure.

Tony can see that the benefits to the local community include:

• The opportunity for local people to participate in an enjoyable physical activity on their doorstep, which in turn contributes to broader health and wellbeing outcomes.

• Opportunities, especially to young people, to learn new skills with the beneficial consequence to their self-esteem and confidence – also to become part of a thriving social centre with significant numbers of successful peer and adult role models.

• Opening up a potential career route we have had a number of members who have pursued careers in the sports which we carry out.

• Alongside our proximity to Saltwells Nature Reserve, introduce local people to a spectrum of wildlife, environmental and conservational learning opportunities.

Tony has in the past, and proposes to continue in the future, to invite local people to participate in the sporting activities, to work with local schools, colleges and youth organisations to include watersports into their range of activities, to give talks to local schools, and to seek to engage local people in periodic environmental clean up events which enhance this local resource.

Tony is a dedicated, enthusiastic, leader who has the personality and ability to engage colleagues and partners and to deliver projects which benefit a broader audience.