07/12/2020- Covid 19

What does community club fencing look like now?

BF takes a look at what some of our affiliated clubs are doing to adapt and navigate through 2020 and explores some examples of best practice with Chris Wood from Radcliffe Sword Club.

Many of our clubs have adapted and changed how they interact with their members throughout 2020. As we navigate the different guidance and local measures across Home Nations together, BF has been looking into how some of our community clubs have made changes.

Throughout the year we have hosted community discussions and gathered information through an email survey, to regularly ask our clubs about their activities and current status.

According to feedback from clubs, facility access and size has been the main barrier BF clubs have seen during the pandemic. Many clubs have sought provision elsewhere with the use of church halls becoming more and more popular. Chris Wood from Radcliffe Sword Club wrote to tell us about his success in moving venue, “When we re-started activity following the first lockdown we took the decision to move to a larger (and more expensive) venue to give us additional space for social distancing around our pistes. This venue has its own policies around COVID and is fully compliant with all the guidance.”

It can be difficult at this time to find the right balance between size of venue and affordability, however, being able to utilise a venue that has the resources to be COVID safe will give clubs more support as they look to return in the coming weeks. Risk assessment plays a big part in helping participants get back to fencing and we would encourage clubs to update their policies as much as possible by utilising their venue’s information. A lot of assessment and subsequent solutions are more than likely to have been provided by venues already, i.e. toilet arrangements and one way systems.

Chris Wood also highlighted the use of NHS Track and Trace at the venue and asks participants to register with the service before attending a session at the club. This helps the club to remind members not to attend sessions if they feel unwell and they can also monitor group sizes.

To assist in track and trace, BF has partnered with Playwaze to provide free profiles for all BF affiliated clubs so that they can programme their sessions and have members register digitally and all in one place. (For more information, please contact [email protected]).

Managing participant flow within a session and maintaining sanitised equipment can be challenging according to feedback from the club survey. Radcliffe Sword Club place bottles of sanitiser and wipes at each scoring box and piste for participants to use between bouts which has worked well for them. BF has published guidance around personal equipment and advice on cleaning protocols here.

As well as encouraging participants to use sanitiser, maintaining social distancing and the use of face coverings is important. BF advise that all participants should wear a face covering or mask liner whilst attending a session. Radcliffe Sword Club, like other clubs, have purchased a set of mask liners and they supply them to their members at no extra cost. In regard to social distancing, Chris explains that, “At the start of each session fencers are reminded to remain on the piste they are assigned to, and to call ‘halt’ in the event that fencers close to within a metre to prevent any close-quarter action.”

These are just a few examples of successful adaptations that our members have used, whilst discovering what the ‘new normal’ is for them. If you have any questions about returning to fencing or have examples of things that have worked well for you please let us know ([email protected]).


If you have any queries regarding this and other announcements please contact us using this form. Please note that we may not be able to answer your questions until we have received further clarification (which we will in the first instance publish on our website).

If you have a moment to help sport, please support the petition here which calls on the government to instigate emergency funding in the form of a Sports Recovery Fund to ensure sports clubs, fitness and leisure facilities can remain open and survive the coming difficult months.

The work our coaches, clubs, volunteers, partners and community do to keep our sport safe, fun and viable is vitally important and we want to thank our members for your patience at this time. We will as always, update our Covid-19 advice and guidance page with the current status for all Home Nations.

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