Updated 24.06.2020
We recognise the impact the current situation is having on you, your club and your members. Your health and wellbeing are of the upmost importance and we are here to support you.

As mentioned in our previous message to clubs and coaches, this dedicated page will provide clubs with guidance and signposting for help that is available. As the situation in the UK changes, we will update this page with new developments and announcements.

We may not have the answers to all of your questions yet. If you have a question that isn’t answered here or on our further advice and guidance pages, please contact Hannah Gavin at

We have created a dedicated COVID-zone on the website which can be found here.

We are also collating resources (tools and templates) designed to support coaches clubs as they create their own Return to Fencing Plans.  They can be found here.

Also check out all latest COVID-19 news and announcements here.

We are also running Community Discussion Events – more information can be found here.


How can I prepare the club to open as restrictions lift?

1.  Keep up to date and follow the government advice relevant to your Home Nation

Restrictions is easing at different rates in different ways in different Home Nations. Devolved governments have different approaches and in some cases clear frameworks and advance notice of expected changes. In other cases there will be the need to react to government advice and update our advice and guidance in response. So it is important to keep up to date with the latest advice for the Home Nation that you are based in.

Scottish Fencing are publishing specific advice and guidance for clubs in Scotland.

To help you keep up to date, you can also subscribe to our new weekly summary email featuring the previous week’s latest news and announcements. Sign up here.


2. Engage all your committee members, coach(es), welfare officer and other volunteers

As part of your plans to reopen it is important to involve everyone that you would normally rely on to run your club.

Relevant workplace guidelines must be followed for any staff and contractors and existing health and safety advice must be maintained and aligned. These must be detailed in your risk assessment.


3.  Consider hygiene/equipment cleaning/rental protocols.

Hygiene (equipment, hand and respiratory – coughing/sneezing) will be central to any resumption of activity. Core measures should be implemented, communicated to members and detailed in your risk assessment.

It is likely that government advice will include general guidance on equipment sharing. Specifically in fencing, the best practice will be for all participants to have their own equipment and individuals to take responsibility for cleaning this between sessions.

Where this is not possible, clubs should consider whether they can allocate (perhaps as part of a rental scheme) equipment to club members for periods of time.

Once sparring resumes, consideration must be given to equipment that is handled by more than one person in a session – for example when plugging in spools and switching on boxes.

You can expect more information from BF on how to clean equipment and the time periods left between re-allocation.


4.  Consider what kind of activities can be done safely under the social distancing rules in your Home Nation

Working with your coaches you might find it helpful to start planning sessions and activities that ensure that the 2m social distancing is maintained and no shared equipment is used. Even if this restriction has lifted in some way before you reopen, it would be good practice to keep social distancing where possible in your sessions (eg warm-ups and footwork).


5.  Where possible get in touch with your facility operator

Understand their plans for opening and what they expect and need from your club and it’s members. You should be sharing risk assessments (BF will be providing examples) so it is clear who will be responsible for implementing procedures – for example around use of changing rooms/toilets,  flows of people around the building, entry and exit procedure, and so on.

For those clubs considering using new/outdoor facilities ensure that the facility operator understands and agrees to the activities you intend to run. Your risk assessment must detail the actions you will take to minimise risks which may be different to your normal indoor facility (posed by surface, weather, other users of the space, particularly from other sports etc).


6.  Keep supporting all your members

As restrictions ease there are still many people who are shielding and isolating. Please keep communicating with these members and consider how you can support them for example by continuing online training sessions and social activities such as online quiz nights as part of your regular club activities.


What if I operate my own venue?

If you operate your own venue we recommend reading the UK Active- A framework for the re-opening of gym, leisure centre and wider fitness industry during social distancing which sets out the framework for opening gym and leisure facilities during an anticipated period of “social distancing” following the full closure of the sector due to COVID-19. It also provides the basis for individual operators to develop their own required technical operating guidance for customers, staff and supply chains once the Government has said facilities, or parts of facilities, can open.

CIMSPA have also provided guidance for social distancing in the sport and physical activity sector for venue operators and a helpful checklist.


What else can I be doing during this time for my club?

It’s a good idea to use this time as an opportunity to work through some basic admin tasks;

  • Check your own details are up to date on the membership platform and we have permission to contact you. You will need to log into the system to check and update this. Also remind your members to do the same so we can contact them via email.
  • Check your club details are up to date on the membership platform . We are still getting a number of undelivered messages when we send emails, to club contacts. Please ask your club secretary to check and update the club profile if necessary.
  • Sign-up to our newsletters: Club Digest and/or Coach Digest.
  • Follow our social channels: you can find us on Facebook and Twitter where we will be posting updates on a regular basis.
  • Tidy up your club’s website and social media channels. Make sure all content is up-to-date and remove any unused channels to avoid confusion. Check that any content scheduled to be automatically posted is still relevant and accurate.
  • It is also a good time to check that all your coaches and welfare officers are up to date with their required certificates. Remember you can add them to our online Coach Register and Welfare Officer lists.


How can I engage my club members when sessions aren’t running?

Social connections are important, and we want to keep and foster those. Think about how you could link up with your members. Using online systems is a great way to arrange get togethers or committee meetings. A lot of platforms have introduced offers to help keep people in touch; WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, Skype and ooo are just some examples.


Can I run online sessions for my members?

Yes! A lot of clubs have already started to do this. As with all club sessions you need to make sure that sessions are led by an appropriately qualified individual, you give participants appropriate guidance and you risk assess your activities. More information and guidance can be found here.


Do I need to renew my Club membership during this time?

We recognise the seriousness of the situation and are aware that many of us are being impacted financially at this time. If you are able to renew your membership, it help us to continue our work and support the future of BF and for those of you who are still providing services to your members it will keep you insured.

We are extremely grateful to you for your support and the vital role our members can play in supporting their clubs now and in the future. BF is working to advocate for and inform our clubs, coaches and community. You can find updates on our website, including our advice and guidance page here.


I run my club as a small business/charity, what support is available for me?

The UK Government has announced a range of support packages available for businesses and charities, including grants, loans and tax holidays. Please see the following link for full details –

This includes information on:

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – as of 20/04/2020 this is now open for claims, more information here
  • deferring VAT and Self-Assessment payments
  • a Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England.
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme


Support for businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Because some elements of business support are devolved, the measures you can access may differ if your business/club is in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.


View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Scotland.



View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Wales.

On 31/03/2020 the Welsh Government launched an Economic Resilience Fund worth £400m, designed to provide grants of £10,000 to small businesses and sole traders employing up to 9 staff and up to £100,000 for businesses employing between 10 and 249 employees. This support is aimed at those firms, charities and social enterprises who have slipped through the cracks of the current relief package which is encouraging for a range of organisations, including sole director companies. It is expected that these grants will be available for application from mid-April onwards and further details can be found here.

On 1/04/2020 The Welsh Government announced a £8m Sport Resilience Fund. This will be used to support sports clubs and partner networks which play such a vital role in ensuring the nation is able to remain active and enjoy all the health and wellbeing benefits that sport brings. The fund will be led by Sport Wales. A round up of all grants, loans and support to help sport in Wales can be found here.


Northern Ireland

View the latest guidance on coronavirus for businesses in Northern Ireland.


Is there any sport sector specific support available for my club?

Sport England announced on Tuesday 31st March that they have made up to £195 million worth of funding available to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing coronavirus crisis. 

For details of how clubs can access the Community Emergency Fund please go to:

Please note that this fund does not replace other government schemes and clubs are expected to exhausted all other government funding sources before applying.


On 1/4/2020 the Welsh Government and Sport Wales have announced that they are making £400,000 immediately available to provide support to not-for-profit sports clubs. The funding will be targeted at clubs who are already facing significant challenges after a difficult few weeks and who are likely to need  immediate financial support over the next 12 weeks if they are to remain an important part of their communities in the future.  Please check here for more details and if you have any feedback or queries on the Fund itself for now can you email them to:


For details of support available in other Home Nations please visit:


I am also a self-employed coach, what information is there available?

Please see our separate page for coaches here.

Self employed coaches who have lost income due to the coronavirus may be able to claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme. 


What should I do if my Criminal Record Check or First Aid expires during this time?

Please check out our guidance on our coaches page here and more specific information around Criminal Record Checks here.

Update 23.04.2020 In January 2020 BF adopted an online DBS application service (Vibrant Nation) for all new DBS checks (England and Wales). You should contact your club to process a new application. For more information, click here and information for clubs on Vibrant Nation can be found here.


Useful Links

Sport England


Sport Structures

Sport and Recreation Alliance



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If you are a new customer to BF and Leon Paul then get in contact as we can offer plastic Midi Fence Kit for £500 (usual RRP is £612). Terms and conditions apply.  

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