22/05/2020- Member

Dear Member,

We hope this finds you well. We know COVID-19 has had an enormous impact across all communities in the UK and we would like to thank our fencing community for continuing to support the NHS, key workers and each other in these difficult times.

As you may be aware, there has been some lifting of lockdown restrictions for outdoor sports in some areas of the UK but the phasing and details of any easing for indoor sports remains uncertain and dynamic. We can’t yet get back to fencing lessons or sparring (see announcement here), however we are closely monitoring announcements and are preparing plans for a return, to the extent we can.

Since our last message, we have continued to support our members, clubs, and the fencing community in a variety of ways. Whilst we continue to deliver the ‘usual’ National Governing Body activities (for example insurance, safeguarding and welfare, supporting funding applications) we have also adapted our activities in light of government guidance and to support the needs of our community:

  1. We have been in close contact with partners and funding bodies like Sport England, UK Sport and the Sport and Recreation Alliance, advocating for the needs of our community, from coaches that earn their living in our sport, to clubs that face significant financial challenges.
  2. We are continuing to update our COVID-19 advice here, with dedicated pages for clubs and coaches.
  3. We have been supporting our clubs and coaches to get online, sharing best practice and making sure they know what is required to be insured to deliver remote sessions to members.
  4. We are opening up a wealth of resources from our Athlete Development Programme through our new Fit2Fence initiative, as part of our work to support members who wish to keep fit and active during this period.
  5. With the postponement of the Tokyo Games, our Olympic Team Manager is continuing to liaise with and support our GBR fencers aiming for Tokyo, as we wait on news from the FIE with regards to the remaining Olympic qualification competitions.

For a full run down of our recent activities, please take a look at our Operational Update.

Many of our members have asked about restarting events. Next month we hope to publish some dates for 2021 and provide you with an update on those events currently postponed (Senior Nationals, BYCs, GB Cup and Cadet & Junior Nationals). We would love to be able to set some firm dates to restart competitive fencing in 2020, however until there is more certainty over social distancing easing it is very difficult to make firm plans.

Rankings will continue to be frozen until we can be confident that sufficient numbers of people can participate in these competitions from across the UK. We will provide a sensible notice period to allow people to arrange travel and accommodation.

As lockdown starts to ease (in different ways across the UK) we now enter a crucial phase of helping our clubs and communities prepare to restart activities when government guidelines allow for it. We do not know when and how restrictions will change but we are scenario planning for some of the more likely outcomes. We have a Return to Fencing working group that includes representatives of the Home Countries to create, where possible, a UK wide consistent approach to the advice and guidance we publish. We have started a series of community discussion groups (more info here) which is proving a great way of hearing from our members, understanding how best we can support them and provide a mechanism for best practice sharing.

As a sport, we need to be flexible and embrace new opportunities to adapt. How can we run exciting and engaging club and school sessions even if social distancing continues? If restrictions on travel and numbers of people in a venue are likely, how can we adapt and rejuvenate competitive fencing at a local level? These are important topics for our discussions.

We are aware that there have been a lot of recent BF announcements which are all published in the latest news section of our website. To help you keep up to date, you can now subscribe to our new weekly summary email featuring the previous week’s latest news and announcements. Sign up here.

In the meantime, and as always, the health and wellbeing of our community is of the utmost importance. Please continue to follow the official guidance and look after yourself and each other.


Georgina Usher, CEO, British Fencing

Mark Lyttle, Chair, British Fencing


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