16/12/2016- Latest News


Today, Sport England formally announced they have awarded £1.7m for the 2017-21 funding cycle to British Fencing to sustain and develop fencing in England.

Mark Lyttle, Chair of British Fencing commented, “We are delighted that the hard work of the team over the last two years has positioned us to be able to work with Sport England to deliver against the objectives of the Government Sport Strategy, specifically in relation to the sport of Fencing.  We would like to send our thanks to the National Lottery”.

Georgina Usher, CEO said “A significant part of the investment bid was the commitment that British Fencing and England Fencing have given to Sport England to undertake projects to make the work that we do across fencing more financially sustainable. We recognise that there are parts of our communities and initiatives that will always require additional financial support, but a key condition of the award is that the basis of the services that we deliver to our sport must, year on year, be less and less reliant on public funding.”

Over the last few months British Fencing and England Fencing have been working closely with Sport England to identify how they can contribute to the objectives of the Government Sports Strategy ‘Sporting Futures’. In response to this, the investment bid was based on existing programmes of work where we could demonstrate tangible and measurable results, aligned to those objectives, including:    

1. Youth Development and Diversity Programme:

Building on the strong foundations of 2014-2016 we will continue our successful partnership work with The Scouts Association, Girl Guides, London Youth, Street Games the Youth Sport Trust and County Sport Partnerships. This programme also includes our work with the Maslaha Charity to expand the Muslim Girls Fence project.

2. Student Offer & Partnership with Universities and Colleges:

Continue with our successful partnership work with British Universities & College Sport (BUCS), Association of Colleges (AoC) to reach more students through our new Sabre:Lite offer and University Fencing Officer (UFOs) initiative.

3. Coaching Development Framework:

Continue to drive our Coaching Programme to embed a new culture of learning and continuous improvement into our Coaching community – based on the principle that the best coaches are reflective practitioners and consciously become ‘the coach a fencer needs’. There will also be flexible learning modules and a focus on valuing coaches, recognising that everyone on the Coaching pathway regardless of where and who they coach. Critically for 2017 and beyond we will be focusing on establishing a financially sustainable Coaching Development Programme that becomes less and less reliant on public funding as we move forward in to our new funding cycle 2017-2021.

4. Partnership Programme:

Expand our programme of relationships with leisure centres, holiday parks and activity centres, to create better experiences for the wider swordplay community. We will build on our work of 2014-2016 where we established a new product mix, including Sabre:Lite, Battle, Dip-Dab-Stab etc. reaching out to young people, students and through work-place programmes.

Gabby Williams, Development Director said, “The priority for us over the next four years is to ensure we retain our agile approach so that we can meet our funding award conditions for specific development programmes whilst at the same time help to sustain our sports core community, e.g. clubs, regions and other fencing providers. The Development Strategy continues to be underpinned by a targeted, results driven approach delivered in partnership with a select number of reputable stakeholders and delivery partners that understand and can effectively work with our new customers and core market”.

This investment in specific programmes and services means that we will need to create a shift change in the way that we work. We will continue to strive to deliver an efficient, good quality, value for money service to our members and partners, but we must also become more commercially focussed in aspects of what we do, generating income and attracting partners and investment from other sources. This income is necessary, both to replace the year on year funding reduction profiled in our award, and importantly to ensure that we continue to support the broader needs of the fencing community. 

With regards to our Talent Pathway, we are currently revising and adjusting our Talent Pathway Strategy and funding submission in light of the UK Sport funding decision.  Our revised Strategy will be submitted to Sport England in early January 2017.

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