July Operational Update 2020
Find out what the executive team at BF has been doing to support our members as we work towards a return to fencing.
We provided our last Operational Update in May (you can see that update here) and July’s Update gives us the opportunity to round up what we have been doing over the last two months.
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. We created a Covid-19 zone on our website and publicised information, as we received it, on our social media and other communication channels.
More recently, our focus has moved towards a safe return to fencing, with community discussions and resources to support our return to fencing plan across the UK.
During this time we have continued to support:
The whole sport through:
- Advocating for fencing – our return to indoor fencing plan (England) was recently submitted to DCMS and we continue to communicate with funding partners and the government about the issues facing our sport, clubs and communities.
- Celebrating and supporting the black fencing community – following on from our community listening event and athlete feedback we have started taking action to celebrate and support our black fencing community whilst also playing a wider role in educating everyone involved in our sport about Black Lives Matter and anti-racism (one example here).
- Launching a Wellbeing Survey to help us understand more about our members’ wellbeing and experiences of lockdown. Members have now been sent the survey via email and we will analyse the results to help us support our community going forwards. (If you haven’t received the email please check your junk mail and then contact [email protected])
- Continuing the 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.
- Continually updating the current status for all Home Nations via our dedicated Covid-19 zone page – linking out to Home Nation association, government and sport agency information.
- Maintaining vital functions such as safeguarding and welfare (Are you OK?), insurance, updating registers, planning for future COVID-secure events, developing coach education and seeking future funding to support the sport.
- Continuing governance – Read BF Chair Mark Lyttle’s update from the June 2020 board meeting here. The 2020 elections for 2 Board Directors have been announced here. Looking forward we will publish the Executive Reports from The Annual Report as a series of website articles and will announce further information about the 2020 AGM which we are looking into holding online.
Our clubs and coaches through:
Our higher education, competitive, recreational fencers and projects through:
- Launching a campaign to connect with the Scout Association’s #TheGreatIndoors project, to ensure that Scout leaders could still provide fencing opportunities at home. Over 140 scout leaders have already signed up. Over a period of 6 weeks we are releasing 35 accompanying videos featuring competitions, fencing lessons, games and creative challenges. For more information on the project, please complete this form.
- Co-hosting an online film screening of Nobody’s Metaphor with our partner Maslaha. The film illustrates the experiences of participants in the #MuslimGirlsFence project and was followed by a panel discussion. Over 150 people watched the screening live and the panel conversation afterwards and a number of members from across our BF community joined in the conversation on sport and social impact.
- Continuing to deliver sessions through our partnership with Maslaha and the #MuslimGirlsFence project with online delivery. Since lockdown began, 60 fencing sessions and 13 creative sessions have been delivered, with the first session up and running just 17 days after lockdown was announced.
- Hosting a Higher Education (HE) networking group on 9th July. Over 30 HE fencing club representatives attended. This was a great opportunity for BF to listen to sector specific concerns and requests for support in anticipation of the HE sector returning to fencing later on this year.
- In partnership with BUCS planning for the next BUCS series, with provisional dates to be confirmed in August 2020.
- Exploring ways to adapt delivery to the HE sector from September onwards and planning to deliver online coaching and referee development opportunities for the HE sector.
- Exploring the options for restarting community fencing competitions once government restrictions permit us to.
- Publishing a series of video workouts with Marcus Mepstead- look for these on our website and Youtube channels in late July and sign up to Fit2Fence to receive emails with member-only additional content.
Our pathway and elite fencers through:
- Running online Athlete Development Programme training sessions. The July ADP camp was held in a virtual environment and included sessions for personal coaches, inclusivity discussions and 135 fencers connecting online. The full report is here.
- 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.
- Nominating pathway athletes in Higher Education for TASS support 2020/21.
- Freezing applications for the ADP, subject to a review and update of the application process for new athletes.
- Taking applications for the DiSE programme 2020/21.
Our younger audiences through:
- Launching #ITriedFencing – a fun series of videos featuring Ben Peggs, Lucy Johnson and Rob Bruniges. The series introduces young people to fencing through creative challenges and games. Participants can apply for an #ITriedFencing certificate from BF after completing any of the challenges in the series.
- Extending our partnership with Little Musketeers – working together to see the impact of a SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) based curriculum take root in the UK.
Our fans and followers, through:
- Podcast interviews on a range of topics exploring the world of fencing through ‘Interviews with the CEO’. This month’s podcast is an interview with BF’s Chair Mark Lyttle.
- Publishing a new edition of the Sword, with articles and content adapted to the situation as the world responded to lockdown – due for publication late July.
- Hosting a live Q&A with Marcus Mepstead, a candid discussion as part of the work of the Aspiration Fund, which supports athletes on their journey towards Tokyo 2021.
- Launching ‘My Fencing World’, a series which explores the world of UK fencing as told through the personal stories of people of all ages and abilities in our community. Here we meet Veteran sabreur, Jacqueline Esimaje-Heath.
- Launching the Explore Fencing App for mobiles and tablets. Learn more about this fun and accessible way to explore fencing and download the app for iOS and Android here.
A full list of current partners can be found here
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].
You can stay up to date with all the updates by subscribing to our weekly news summary The Fencing Digest. Sign up here.
On a final note, the team at BF would like to express their gratitude to all our members for their support at this time. Just by being a member you enable and support the work that we do across the community for the benefit of our members and our sport.
We would also like to thank all the volunteers who continue in their many and varied ‘behind the scenes’ roles and recognise the hugely important part they are playing in preparing for our return to fencing.