About our club
Friends of Allonby is Liverpool's canoe club. We are an 'open' canoe club with interests in most aspects of recreational and competitive paddling. However, many of our members also have a keen interest in canoe polo and in 1998 our Governing Body, the British Canoe Union, awarded us "Top Performance Club" status for Canoe Polo, one of only two such awards ever to have been made. The (then) BCU (British Canoe Union) has revised its "Top Club" award to align more closely with Sports England's "Clubmark" scheme, and Friends of Allonby is which we was accredited TOP CLUB. Then British Canoeing changed again to Quality Club which we are now accreditated.
Since 1992 the Club has run its annual Merseyside Canoe Polo International initially in Dukes Dock then, at Princess Dock. This annual Tournament is one of the biggest held in the UK and consistently attracts dozens of polo teams from throughout the UK and Ireland, together with a sprinkling of teams from continental Europe.
In 2004 Friends of Allonby hosted the very successful 5th European Canoe Polo Club Championships, an elite competition run under the regulations of the European Canoe Association, to which only the top men's and women's teams in each European country are invited.
At the City of Liverpool's Sports Awards ceremony in 2006, Friends of Allonby received the coveted "Club of the Year" trophy in recognition of its major contribution to the sporting life of the city, and its regional, national and international reputation in canoe polo. Our senior Ladies Polo Team are the current European Club Champions, BC Division 1 Champions and BC National Champions, and four members of this team are also current World Champions having won gold medals with the Great Britain Ladies Team at the 2008 World Championships held in Edmonton, Canada. (See our Canoe Polo pages for further information).
A clear demonstration that our Club is not just interested in canoe polo occurred in 2008 when we organised two very competitive Kayak Sprint events for the World Firefighters Games, which were hosted by the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Services. This major event was the second biggest sporting competition held anywhere in the world during 2009, after the Beijing Olympic Games. In addition, some years ago the Club used to run a very popular annual Div. 3 Slalom on the River Tryweryn (near Bala), and more recently in successive years we organised three "Paddlefest Liverpool" all-day events for local children which provided lots of fun and opportunities to try out a wide variety of paddlesport activities.
Our Home now is in Collingwood Dock - which is arguably the best permanent Canoe Polo venue in the UK.
We have run numerous courses (and still do) for different groups: Colleges, Schools, Business, Organisations. Please get in touch with us if you are one of these and think that we could play a part in your next adventure. We are a friendly, welcoming club who are committed to inclusion.
Our Accreditations With British Canoeing
We strive to be the best at our club, and one way we prove this is via our Accreditations with our National Governing Body - British Canoeing. We have been awarded with all of the Accreditations available, to show that we strive to be the best; we are recognized with that status.
At the time of being awarded in 2023 with the awards, we were the first and only club to hold all of these accolades. The first Club Awarded with the Talent Champion Club that is specialized in Canoe Polo. We were also the first club to be accreditated with the Junior and #ShePaddles Champion Club. If this doesn't demonstrate we deserve 5 stars then what would? Perhaps our Club Achievements page may be worth a look to build on how great we are!
Recognition of our outstanding Governance, Safeguarding, Equality Diversity and Inclusion, and Practices in our club.
Recognition of our outstanding practices and coaching in the competition environment for Canoe Polo.
Recognition of our outstanding development and care for our Juniors.
Recognition of our outstanding equality with woman and meet the high standards for every woman to be in our club.
Clear Access Clear Waters Champion Club
Recognition of our outstanding continuous contribution to protecting our environment.
British Canoeing Club Affiliation
Recognition of our outstanding close ties with British Canoeing and all the benefits including waterways access and insurance cover.
Since its inception by a small group of local kayaking enthusiasts some 40+ years ago, the club has grown and prospered into the very successful club it is of today. Currently, with sessions held at the Bootle and Speke Pools during the winter the club's main activities revolve around its central location at the Liverpool Waters, Collingwood Facility. The club offers its members a multiplicity of various kayaking and canoeing opportunities within its range of both competitive and its more leisurely activities. Friends of Allonby is a locally run community-based club with much of the club's ethos revolving around the encouragement and development of both family and junior values and activities. Members and potential members are encouraged to participate in all the different aspects of our sport, within those choices of both leisure and competitive options the club has over a number of years developed into one of the most formidable competition clubs within the discipline of Canoe Polo. Canoe Polo for the uninitiated is a contact team sport. With goals suspended at the end of the pitch, the game demands both ball game skills aligned to a degree of kayaking skills sufficient to move and turn the boat in a dynamic team game.
With regular 'Go Canoe' 'Come and Try it' taster opportunities the club more than welcomes greater participation and interest in its activities to that extent taster sessions are frequently run against demand. If you require any more information or wish to arrange a Taster session then please feel free to get in contact with us at 07570 526 947.
As a visitor to our Website, you may wonder why our Canoe Club has such a strange name. The story goes as follows. Once upon a time, before there was a canoe club in Liverpool, a small group of Merseyside canoeing enthusiasts used to organise weekend trips to go paddling on rivers or the sea. One of their regular canoeing venues was the Novice/Division 4 Slalom on the River Eden at Carlisle. Their accommodation for the weekend was at a caravan site at Allonby which is a village on the Cumbrian coastline.
As you may know, slalom competitions were normally divided into a team event run on Saturday, and an individual competition run on Sunday. Teams consisted of three people and they were asked to submit a team name for the start list. Our intrepid trio chose the name "Friends of Allonby".
On returning home they thought that as canoeing was becoming more popular there should be an organisation set up locally so that interested people could get together. At the end of 1981, our Canoe Club was formed in Liverpool by a small group of friends. At that time there were no formal coaching sessions, no Club premises, and no Club equipment, but people could get together to discuss ideas and organise weekend trips for river and sea canoeing. It seemed appropriate to keep the name "Friends of Allonby", so they did.
From these small beginnings, the Club had grown to over 270 members of late.
In 2019 we changed part of our identity in our club. We started out back in 1981 as mainly a Canoe Slalom club - and because of that we adopted a logo with a Slalom Kayak - Mark Connolly is the model used in the logo and the picture was taken on Chester Weir by Nick Smith in the 80's. The Logo has had a few changes; originally there was a different paddler, then the crest came in around the late 80's, finally around 2014 we added the wording "Liverpool" as we changed the name of our club.
The club has changed in leaps and bounds since then, nowadays for a competitive discipline we mainly specialise in Canoe Polo; we used the Famous City of Liverpool's Liver-Bird to represent ourselves being based in Liverpool. Because as we did this it became increasingly aware that for the years we were using the Liver-Bird we had made it into our defacto Logo - people no longer associated our club with our "Old" logo, but rather with the Liver-Bird. We came to realise that our "Old" Logo does not represent us properly anymore and thereby came to the change. The "Old" logo served us well for the 38 years we used it, we changed and achieved countless proud moments - hopefully our "New" Logo will aid us to carry on and continue to strive high.