LONG TERM GOALS FOR BRITISH FENCING:
The year has begun very positively for fencing in the UK. As previously reported, we secured substantial funding from UK Sport and Sport England to support our athletes in preparations for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games and to increase participation in fencing. More recently, Peter King, one of the most respected executives in British sport, confirmed that he will stay on as CEO until at least April 2014.
Shortly before Christmas, the Board held a weekend conference at Bisham Abbey to consider our long term goals for fencing in the UK.
The goals we agreed on are ambitious and long term. By 2024:
. Britain will be recognised as the world’s leading fencing nation;
. Membership of British Fencing will exceed 50,000; and
. British Fencing will be considered Britain’s best sports governing body.
How do we achieve these goals? We don’t have all the answers; we will have to learn from winning fencing nations and from other successful sports in the UK. Above all, we must harness the enthusiastic involvement of existing members and of thousands of people across the country who have yet to pick up a sword.
But we’ve made a good start, with for example an overhaul of our financial systems, a new “Green” Action Plan to enhance our governance and the start of detailed reviews of both the “Grow” and “Gold” programmes. There are staff changes on which Peter King will report separately.
One priority is to develop a clear “talent pathway,” across all three weapons, for fencers that will help them make the most of their abilities and commitment to the sport. For the most talented and most committed, the pathway can lead to an Olympic podium. You will hear a lot more about the talent pathway in the weeks and months ahead as we work closely with UK Sport and Sport England, as well as with our sponsor Beazley, to determine how best to allocate our resources – and we will consult fully during this process.
Another priority is that we know that success at all levels of the sport depends very much on the quality of coaching available. We are creating a new coaching committee, reporting to the Board, to focus on this crucial area.
How you can help
Local fencing clubs are and will remain the main centres for fencing in the UK. Clubs are where most people obtain their first impressions of the sport. You can help your local club by starting to train as a coach, referee, organizer, or volunteer in any capacity; and by encouraging your family and friends to do the same.
We also need your views and suggestions. In the coming month we will review all of our communication channels, including our website, and this review will include members’ views via a survey you will receive soon. Do give us your views. We shall continue to give you information on all the plans above.
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