To Support Volunteer Training and Development in all Home Nations
Over the last few years the Board of BF has been looking at ways to make the BF competition portfolio more financially sustainable. At the same time BF needs to provide more subsidised training opportunities to upskill and grow the volunteer workforce that support not only BF competitions, but also ranking competitions up and down the country.
Whilst the change in membership structure in March 2016 resulted in an increase in members income, the additional income generated has not kept pace with the increasing demand from the membership for high quality service particularly around competitions and particularly from those services typically provided by volunteers.
Much of the volunteer training and events in the past have been subsidised by sponsors, Sport England and UK Sport. However, over the last few years the model of public funding has changed and sponsorship is considerably harder to find, particularly to support volunteers. As a result BF needs to put in place measures to ensure we can continue to deliver the core services to our members without relying on external funding. This is going to be especially important as we move into the 2021-25 public funding cycle as the expectation is that public funding to support sport will further reduce.
BF has also, for a number of years, had a decreasing number of extremely hard working volunteers producing rankings. However the volume of work (particularly if we look to increase the number of ranking events throughout the season) and the expected availability and ability to turn results into accurate rankings almost instantly makes these roles harder and harder to fill. Yet the demands and expectation of the membership in this area continue to rise and the volunteer community does not have the capacity to meet these demands. BF is currently working on an automated ranking system across all weapons and levels to help reduce the administrative burden and increase publication times.
But volunteers will still be needed, not just for rankings, but in other administrative and official roles (including refereeing and competition management) and investment in this area is needed. We have received significant amount of feedback from regions over the last few years that would like additional help from BF to develop referees to support competitions.
Rather than simply increasing membership fees for all members, in August 2020 BF will be introducing a levy of £5 per competitor on entries for Cadet, Junior and Senior Ranking tournaments. This charge will be reduced to £3 for competition entries made through the BF event platform (Sport:80). All Junior and Cadet ranking competitions must be run through the BF event platform.
This levy will be primarily used to subsidise activities to upskill, grow and support our volunteer workforce to ensure that we can continue to support quality competitions (both those run by British Fencing and club) across the country in the future. British Fencing will work with the Home Nations to ensure that the levies are invested in training for the benefit of all Home Nations.
*Key points added on 17/12/2019 after feedback from members
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