BF Operational Update – May 2020
During this period of lockdown the team at BF has continued working hard to ensure we support our members now and into the future.
With fewer opportunities to engage and meet with our members face to face we thought that you might like to hear a bit more about some of the things the executive team have been working on over the last few weeks.
Initially (as lockdown approached and came into force) our focus was on ensuring the community was kept up to date with the latest from the FIE and the Government To this end we created a new zone on our website to ensure easy access for all the updates and publicised information, as we received it, on our social media and other communication channels.
During lockdown we have continued to support:
The whole sport through:
- Advocacy to key stakeholders – communicating with funding partners and government about the issues facing our sport, our clubs and our communities.
- Liaising with other sports and other fencing federations across the world to share best practice and insight.
- Establishing a cross Home Nation Return to Fencing Working Group to support fencing across the UK with advice and guidance for returning to fencing once restrictions are lifted.
- Continuing to perform vital functions such as safeguarding and welfare (Are you OK?), insurance, maintaining registers, planning for future events, developing coach education and seeking future funding to support the sport.
Our clubs and coaches through:
- Sharing and signposting opportunities to access grants including information on Sport England’s £195 million package to support clubs, and other Home Nation equivalents.
- Creating and updating dedicated club and coach webpages.
- Liaising with insurers to ensure our coaches are covered to deliver online sessions to members.
- Publishing full video and written guidance on how to create online content (ensuring that activities continue to fall within insured best practice) including explanatory videos, top tips, written guidelines, articles about Zoom and sample text for coaching videos.
- Providing opportunities to attend (free) online workshops with our partner the True Athlete Project, developing skills around communication, compassion and holistic approaches to the coach/athlete relationship.
- Starting to compile a list of all clubs offering online sessions so we can support promotion to their members (add your sessions here).
- Hosting community discussion groups to plan for a return to fencing
- Trialling an exciting online environment called Coach Now to see how this could benefit our coaches and athletes.
- Launching a new DBS online service (Vibrant Nation) for efficient and faster processing of DBS checks.
Our competitive and recreational fencers through
- Creating a series of videos to help fencers maintain mobility, featuring Maria Goriup, the BF physio. You can subscribe to the playlist here.
- Consolidating a list of online sessions open to members offered by our affiliated clubs and registered coaches (due to launch week of 18th May).
- Sharing a series of strength and conditioning workouts by our World Silver medallist Marcus Mepstead that will run on YouTube, to keep us all fit for our return to fencing. Suitable for all levels of fitness, the series is a great way to see how a top fencer keeps fit from home. Look out for those on our Youtube channel in May.
- Hosting a live Q&A with Marcus Mepstead about #MyFencingWorld, taking questions from members and sharing his journey from Rio 2016 to today. 1pm Wednesday 27th May, live on Facebook (and later shared on our Youtube channel).
- Opening up research and resources developed within our Athlete Development Programme to our membership community through our #Fit2Fence initiative. Members can access this by signing up to our regular emails for recipes and fitness challenges. #Fit2Fence is particularly useful for parents of young members (our future GBR athletes!) and any member who would like to learn more about how elite fencers train and stay healthy.
- Exploring the options for restarting clubs and competitions once government restrictions permit us to.
Our pathway and elite fencers through
- Running online Athlete Development Programme training sessions.
- Launching an online learning platform for ADP coaches and (coming soon) the athletes.
- Hosting a series of online discussions with athletes and coaches to help BF support current and future needs of the senior GBR teams – led by Johnny Davis, BF Olympic Team Manager.
- Working with UK Sport to secure continuation of funding for athletes aiming for Tokyo, and Paris 2024 cycle funding.
Our younger audiences through
- Creating a series of fencing themed activities that can be done at home in family groups. These are in the final stages of development so look out for them on our platforms in late May.
Our fans and followers, through
- Podcast interviews on a range of topics from exploring creativity in delivery with Muslim Girls Fence to two-time Olympian Johnny Davis sharing his insights on success.
- Publishing a special edition of the Sword, with articles and content adapted to the situation as the world responded to lockdown.
- Honouring the members of BF who are working with the NHS through a wall of support as we #SalutetheNHS – hundreds of fencers of all ages have already added their ‘salute selfies’ to our wall of images on social media as we show our respect and gratitude.
- Launching a new Explore Fencing App – coming soon, a free-to-download, customisable and interactive app that introduces fencing skills through games. The first version has three free games, with plenty more to come. You don’t even need a sword to play along!
If there are areas we haven’t covered that you would like more information on please do let us know by emailing us at [email protected].
On a final note, the team at BF would like to express their gratitude to all our members for their support at this time. We would also like to thank all the volunteers who have continued in their many and varied ‘behind the scenes’ roles to help support our community as best we can whilst also preparing for a future return to fencing.