Updated 05.01.2021

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.

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.

The latest status for all Home Countries can be found here.

Please do read our guidance first as may of the questions we received are answered in our published resources. If you have a question that isn’t answered here or on our further advice and guidance pages, please contact us using this form and we will re-direct your questions to the person best able to help.

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 and 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 to help facilitate the creation and sharing of best practice during and after lockdown, BF is inviting members to raise issues, discuss topics and share ideas – more information can be found here.

In December 2020 BF launched a Community Club Hardship Fund – for more information on the fund click here.


How can I support my club in returning to fencing?

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

Restrictions are 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 – please check here for up to date guidance

Welsh Government Guidance – please check here for up to date guidance

NI Government Guidance – please check here for up to date guidance

2. Engage all your committee members, coach(es), welfare officers 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 (see examples here).

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.

See our guidance here on how to implement appropriate protocols.

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

Working with your coaches you might find it helpful to start planning sessions and activities that ensure that 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 its members. You should be sharing risk assessments (examples can be found here) 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 local restrictions change 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 (see our requirements for coaches here and welfare officer guidance here).


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 and Skype are just some examples.


Can I run online sessions for my members?

Yes! A lot of clubs have been doing 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 helps 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
  • 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.

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 have launched a new £16.5 million fund to give additional help to the sport and physical activity sector during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Return to Play Fund will support groups, clubs and organisations who’ve been impacted by restrictions brought in to tackle the disease, and is part of Sport England’s overall response to the crisis that now includes more than £220m of government and National Lottery funding.

The £16.5 million fund is split into three strands:

Small Grants: Providing grants of between £300 and £10,000 to help sport and activity groups, clubs and organisations respond to the immediate challenges of returning to play in a Covid-19-safe environment.

It’ll help community sport respond to the challenges posed, such as having to deliver in smaller groups, having the correct hygiene and safety equipment and giving training to club volunteers.

It’ll also cover making necessary changes to facilities, supplying additional sports equipment and new signage to meet current government and national governing body rules and guidance.

Community Asset Fund: Providing grants ranging in value from £10,001 to £50,000 to help local sports clubs and organisations to adapt and open important places and spaces that can help them welcome back their local community safely.

This will include helping groups, clubs and organisations address the challenges they’re facing by:

  • adapting how they use space and improving ventilation
  • converting existing space to meet social distancing requirements, such as additional changing space
  • making improvements to buildings or open spaces for temporary use to get more people active by using a vacant warehouse, shop or community centre.

Active Together: This crowdfunding initiative will help sports clubs and organisations set up their own campaigns to help sustain them through the crisis.

It’s a great alternative if they don’t meet the priority groups of the other parts of the Return to Play package, and Sport England will match crowd funds of up to £10,000 to help cover the loss of income.

The partnership with Crowdfunder will also include advice, guidance and training to help create successful campaigns.

The application window is now open. For more information please visit the Sport England website here.


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

Please see our separate page for coaches here.


What should I do if my Criminal Record Check, Safeguarding 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.

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.

BF has also developed a new online, fencing specific SPC refresher course which is now available for coaches who have previously completed a face to face course. To book and for more information please read the announcement here.

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.

Useful Resources

Sport England Return to Play Guidance – Sport England have guidance on a range of topics to help you plan for return to play:

Inclusion and Accessibility Guidance:  Click here for further information from Sport England on audience-specific guidance on the following groups of people to support an inclusive and accessible return to sport and physical activity:

  • People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities
  • Lower socio-economic groups
  • People who are LGBT+
  • People living with health conditions
  • Disabled people
  • Women

Latest Research: Sport England has collated new research on people’s current attitudes to sport and physical activity. It looks at the likelihood of people returning to their activity of choice once restrictions are eased, what might hold people back, and how activity providers can help encourage a return.

Useful Links

Sport England


Sport Structures

Sport and Recreation Alliance



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