This article forms part of a series of reports which accompany the 2022-23 BF Annual Report. Our Project and Programme work, primarily funded by Sport England delivers to identified under-represented groups in a series of agreed projects.
Our Project and Programme work is primarily funded by Sport England and delivers to identified under-represented groups in a series of agreed projects to meet outcomes agreed with Sport England. These outcomes are aligned with the BF objectives to deliver accessible inclusive swordplay opportunities delivered via partnership programmes (objective 3) and maximise the wider benefits of fencing and the positive impact it can have on people’s lives (objective 5).
Muslim Girls Fence
Face to face delivery for BF’s flagship inclusion project Muslim Girls Fence resumed in full during this year. As groups began to meet back in person, the request for more training was met through the delivery of two courses, in Birmingham and London. Both courses were attended mainly by women who have been participating in the course and are interested in supporting the growth and running of the clubs they are involved in establishing. Supported delivery also continued in Birmingham, Bradford, Doncaster and London.
A project highlight during this year, was the inclusion of Muslim Girls Fence in the This Girl Can campaign, filmed at Ladywood Leisure Centre in Birmingham. The new campaign highlighted the barriers faced by women when getting active, with key concerns including safety, fear of judgement and the cost of living. The campaign identified four action areas that have the power to dismantle barriers, help women enjoy getting active, and close the Enjoyment Gap.
“At Muslim Girls Fence we make sure everyone feels included. The group is very diverse, but we focus on what we have in common; we are women who love to fence and spend time together. We build self-worth, give power to voices and most importantly, we bring communities together, to share questions and ideas, and to break the negative stereotypes that we carry on a daily basis.”
Coach Binni, Muslim Girls Fence Birmingham
In the schools setting, a new mental health resource was developed to support teachers and pupils through the delivery of the project.
Supporting Youth Partners – Uniformed Groups and London Youth
With a continued need to upskill new youth workers and scout leaders, 17 Core Coach Courses were delivered for scout leaders across the country during the year.
Our ongoing partnership with London Youth has enabled the delivery of Core Coach courses to new youth workers, to support them to deliver fencing as part of their offer for young people. Four clubs have been supported to deliver 24- 30 weeks of fencing session to young people in their community youth organisations as part of the wider Getting Active programme, with a particular focus on young people of colour and/or young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds for this programme. The partnership continues to sustain a positive retention rate; 57% of participants attended at least 60% of the sessions delivered. 39% of participants were young women and girls and 62% of all young people engaged, were from ethnically diverse communities.
“These sessions have allowed us to offer something different that is not currently easily accessible within the local community. We feel that we have allowed some young people who maybe otherwise wouldn’t get the opportunity to be involved, and by being involved helped them to develop new skills.”
Youth Worker, London Youth
Throughout 2023-24, we will continue to address the role that key partners such as London Youth and the Scout Association can play in tackling inequalities, supporting more young people from underrepresented groups to take part in fencing.
Increasing Access and Opportunities to people with Disabilities
Towards the end of 2022, Rick Rodgers took up the post of Inclusion Officer (Disability), with an immediate focus on gathering insight into the current landscape off access to for disabled participants. The Level Access Survey was completed by 23% of clubs in the UK and the following recommendations were made:
The summary report is available on the BF website.
In relation to the Autistic Spectrum Disorder pilot, the focus in 2022-23 was to complete the pilot following the delays caused by the pandemic, followed by final analysis of data received through the various testing undertaken in the schools. The findings from the initial pilot concluded that the fencing intervention shows improvements within core physiological aspects of children with ASD and impacts their everyday skills.
The focus for 2023-24 will be to secure further funding to expand the roll out of the project in schools, as well as sharing best practice with the fencing community.
Partner Engagement – HE Sector
Delivery of University Fencing Officer (UFO) training
In September 2022, BF ran a UFO training weekend for 14 students (29% of whom were female), from 11 Universities across the UK. The students had the opportunity to develop their coaching skills as well as training on how to utilise the Crowd DNA toolkit, designed to help coaches and clubs better understand the needs of new fencers, to increase their retention rates in the long-term.
“A practical, hands-on course focussing on developing the delivery of fencing sessions in a university environment. A well structured, relevant and insightful weekend run by friendly and knowledgeable instructors. Thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend!”
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