29/01/2015- Latest News

Today, Sport England has formally announced its commitment to support British Fencing to increase participation over the next two years.

During the last nine months, British Fencing, supported by Sport England and other partners, has transformed its approach to increasing participation in the 14-25yr old market. This work has included:

  • • creating a new insight led ‘customer’ focussed strategy
  • • implementing new systems to measure participation growth
  • • measurably delivering an impact on growth.

The 2015-17 Sport England funding is to enable British Fencing to deliver on the new agreed development strategy. This involves creating attractive, participant focused opportunities for 14-25 yr olds to take part in community fencing.

The new strategy will be achieved by partnering with a range of organisations that have a track record of engaging with and retaining young people in sport. British Fencing will initially partner with organisations operating in the youth market, for example those delivering into networks of youth clubs and higher education establishments. The target is to attract over 3000 new young people by March 2017, retaining 60% of them in regular fencing activity.

Georgina Usher, CEO says – “This is an exciting time to invest in growing our sport in a scalable, sustainable way by reaching out to new areas in the community. As we enable more people to take up fencing, we want to ensure that the right opportunities are available for them at the right time to enable them to stay with fencing even as their preferences and needs change.”

The 2015-17 growth strategy is based on four key principles:

  • • develop ‘new style’ fencing experiences to respond to participant preferences;
  • • create a workforce that’s equipped to deliver insight led experiences;
  • • establish new partnerships with national level organisations to better connect with potential new participants and deliver networks of participation opportunities, and;
  • • work closely with selected fencing clubs & providers, to support both the delivery of these opportunities and subsequent retention of participants in local areas.

Gabby Williams, Development Director says “Based on our four key principles our new scalable programme requires a shift change in the way British Fencing operates to maximise our impact on participation in fencing.”

Successful delivery of this programme will be underpinned by:

  • • a Development Team that is equipped with appropriate skills knowledge;
  • • improved communications with (and a better reach out to) our participants;
  • • ongoing and robust participant feedback & research, driving a participant centric approach;
  • • formal monitoring and evaluation systems for everyone involved;
  • • contracted delivery partners acting on behalf of British Fencing;
  • • effective engagement with selected clubs and fencing providers to leverage and support this work, and;
  • • importantly, a coaching development function to ensure coaches and leaders are equipped to deliver participant centric fencing experiences across both development and talent programmes.

Sport England has awarded £815,000 over the next two years to support this work.

England Fencing has also provided a significant financial contribution towards the 2015-17 strategy and played a key role in developing it throughout 2014. Marie Liston, President of England Fencing states; ‘In early 2014 we established a joint British Fencing and England Fencing ‘Grow Group’ to oversee delivery of the Sport England award conditions.   Since then, there has been real change in momentum and approach in fencing’s Development work and in light of Sport England’s funding announcement, it has clearly proven to be a great success – we are delighted!’.

The British Fencing Development Team will continue to keep members and partners updated and engaged where relevant.

For the full press release please click here.

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