British Fencing (BF) is committed to creating an environment that is safe, fun and inclusive for participation in fencing. As a National Governing Body of Sport, BF is also required to play a role in implementing minimum standards of safeguarding and has duties and responsibilities under the Working Together to Safeguard Children Act 2018 (England only) and similar legislation in other home nations. This legislation requires all organisations working with children and young people however small to have certain things in place to promote their welfare.
As part of implementing these standards, BF is required to ensure that there is a welfare structure in place and a framework for delivery and that there are minimum standards for coaches, particularly those that come into contact with children. Our work in this area is reviewed annually by the NSPCC’s Child Protection in Sport Unit and should we fail to meet minimum standards we will not be able to apply for government funding which will significantly impact our ability to support our fencers, clubs and coaches. For example our Athlete Development Programme (for athletes age 15-23) is a Sport England funded programme which provides subsidised training and competitive opportunities for athletes looking to represent GBR.
Over the last few years BF with the support of the Home Nation Governing Bodies has been working closely and supporting our clubs as they have been adopting these standards. BF has continued to provided low cost (and where possible free) training opportunities and guidance.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the clubs that have met the standards and continue to support efforts to create the best environments for children and young people to participate in fencing. We are delighted that we have a growing network of welfare officers at club and regional and national level who play such an important role in our clubs, and coaches that place participant welfare at the heart of our sport.
We would also like to thank England Fencing, Scottish Fencing, Welsh Fencing and NI Fencing and our other partners for their efforts in this regard.
Regrettably there remain a small number of clubs still affiliated that continue to offer fencing without meeting minimum welfare operating standards and who have not been touch with us to discuss their situation following a number of emails from us on the topic. Clubs without welfare provision and/or using unregistered coaches present an increased risk of safeguarding incidents occurring. This is of particular concern when these clubs are offering environments for young people to train.
Therefore of the 1st September 2019 we will be introducing sanctions for clubs that fail to meet, or cannot demonstrate they have an intention to meet the minimum club welfare operating standards within a reasonable time frame.
As part of these measures, athletes competing in the 2019 Cadet and Junior Championships will not be permitted to represent clubs that are currently either failing to meet the minimum welfare operating standards or cannot demonstrate to BF they have an intention to meet the minimum club welfare operating standards within a reasonable time frame. Athletes representing clubs will still be permitted to fence but will do so ‘unattached’.
If they wish to do so, athletes (or their parents) can check themselves whether there is a risk they will be fencing ‘unattached’:
If issues arise with either check and you have any related concerns please contact your Club Secretary when club restarts after the summer break.
And finally, if you are thinking of supporting your club and volunteering as a Welfare Officer for your club please click on the links below to find out more.
More Information for Club Secretaries
Please also check your emails for further information from BF on this topic. BF will be checking the welfare contact information on the BF membership platform so please make sure this information is up to date by 16th September. If by this time you are unable to list a welfare contact please ensure that you have sent us an email describing your plans to put in place a welfare officer to firstname.lastname@example.org, cc’ing email@example.com with the subject: CWO plans for Club X, where X is the name of the club.
If you are a Welfare Contact or a Coach looking for training or assessments please sign up here.
More Information and Useful Links
Have a Concern about a Child? Report it.
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