Following input from members and clubs, BF used this opportunity to highlight to government the impact of coronavirus on fencing in our communities
BF invited members and clubs to share their views to help us strengthen our formal response to the DCMS Committee’s invitation for written submissions.
The formal response was an opportunity for BF to raise our concerns and specific risks and issues affecting our community, which included:
Access to Facilities – BF highlighted the challenges facing many clubs in respect to accessing facilities – for a variety of reasons such as closure, availability, cost, re-purposing (particularly in the school sector), facility operators choosing to focus on a limited number of sports for specific age ranges.
Coaching – Highlighted concerns included the lack of appropriate financial support for coaches unable to work, and the risk that this could create a longer term gap in workforce as coaches seek employment elsewhere.
Volunteers – Club volunteers face an ever increasing set of responsibilities – governance, safeguarding and now COVID-19. More investment in supporting these and wider community volunteers to be able to support sport
Equipment – Many clubs have historically had kit available for use by participants. With the restrictions on sharing and impact of cleaning protocols, this reduces the ability of our clubs to attract new participants and provide an affordable experience for those unable to purchase their own equipment.
Cost/Accessibility – For many clubs, the increased operational costs as a result of COVID-19 will be passed onto participants and this will result in sport being less accessible.
In relation to key measures that the government could introduce to increase the resilience of our clubs and our sport, BF added their voice to the growing case for a sports recovery fund, with targeted investment to assist community sport to build back better from Covid-19. To include funding for:
Facilities: Capital investment into facilities, encouraging (with grants) new developments/repurposing of unused space to create affordable community multi-sport spaces. Funding and measures to support re-opening facilities (school – state & private, local authority or leisure trust) for use by community clubs at an affordable cost.
Encouraging multi-sport and community group usage – making more funding available to non sport-specific facilities that have a diverse sport offering to all members of their communities (rather than a focus on limited sports in a limited age range).
Coaches: Access to financial support for those working in sport who have been unable to access the existing government schemes. Further measures/funding to support work in re-establishing, protecting and growing a diverse coaching workforce – both in participation and performance.
Clubs: Access to one-off grants to clubs to offset their losses in restarting. Further funding to support clubs to continue offering affordable sporting experiences to their communities.
Equipment: A better understanding of the risks posed by the sharing of sport equipment and if this is insurmountable, longer-term additional funding for our clubs and community projects to invest in equipment to ensure that our sport remains accessible to all.
BF is continuing to work in collaboration with our Home Nation Association bodies and our funding stakeholders to advocate changes from the government on behalf of our sport, our clubs and our members. If you would like to contribute any views or evidence to support this activity please email us at [email protected] with ‘call for evidence’ in the subject title. We may not be able to respond individually to all your emails but be assured we do welcome your input.
If you have any queries regarding this and other announcements please contact us using this form.
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