About Us: Membership Income

BF is funded primarily from membership income, commercial activities and grants from our stakeholders, Sport England and UK Sport. For an overview of what we do as an organisation, what types of income we get and what they are used for please click here.

Membership income is approximately £350K per year (reduced during COVID).  BF retains 60% (~£210K) of the membership income collected with the remaining 40% going to the Home Nation associations to support grass roots participation and Home Nation representative fencing. (For the exact figures for each financial year please refer to our annual accounts published here)

Expenditure attributable to delivering membership services can be broken down approximately as follows (no salaries are included):

20% Finance & Governance (Finance Services, Audit fees, AGM, & Board expenses)

20% Insurance, Legal, Safeguarding Services

15% Communication Services: The Sword, Website & Communications (content generation)

15% IT & Other Services including Membership Platform (Sport80), GB League (Playwaze), BF Perks (Wrkit)

15% Head Office costs (includes rates and utilities, telephone, printing, postage and office maintenance, note no rent or mortgage as office is located in a flat owned by BF)

10% – Finance charges including Stripe, credit card fees, bank fees

This leave less than 10K which historically has been used over the years in a variety of ways including to:

  • Make a contribution to staff salaries
  • Subsidise the losses made on the BF event portfolio 
  • Subsidise the cost of sending squads (including volunteers who support them) to major championships


Prior to funding from Sport England and UK Sport, BF relied heavily on the work of volunteers to run the organisation.  As the breakdown above shows, membership income covers some of the basic costs of running a business, but in order to deliver against our strategic objectives we need to access public funding (restricted income which is targeted to work areas to deliver against government strategy) and try to build our commercial offerings to generate unrestricted income.

This income allows us to employ an executive team so that the organisation does not need to rely entirely on volunteers.  Elements of the grant awards from both Sport England and UK Sport are specifically to cover salaries to support governance work and delivery and in some cases, where agreed, there are contributions to other core business costs in the categories listed above.

Many members ask why it is that BF cannot financially support members who represent GBR, but who are not eligible to receive or benefit from public funding (this is most often performance related, but also due to other eligibility factors – see here for more information about funding opportunities for GBR athletes).

In part the answer lies in the large numbers of members that are given the opportunity through our selection policies to represent their country abroad across U17, U20, U23 and Senior level across all 6 weapons. If one athlete attending one international representational event costs £350 then in order to raise £350 we would have to raise an extra £583 in membership fees (as the Home Nations take 40% of membership income). On average well over 200 people every year are selected to fence for GBR. To raise £116K (200*583) would mean an increase of £8 on every membership type (supporter, recreational and compete).  Just to cover the cost of one representational event. The reality is that international athletes attend many more events each year and the costs are very often higher than £350 per event. We believe to leverage this additional costs on all our members would make membership fees a greater barrier for entry into the sport.  Instead we seek to access other types of funding and support (working with organisations such as the BF Charity, the Epee Club Charity) and raise income through commercial activities and sponsorship to support GBR athletes directly and indirectly.

For more information about the funding we receive from Sport England please click here.

For more information about the funding we receive from UK Sport please click here.


Return to ‘About Us Zone‘ to find out more information about the work that we do.



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