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North East Regional Fencing

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1 North East Regional Fencing
2007 Whole Sport Plan “Fencing in the region has a pedigree of being the best in the UK. Embracing this and inspiring to be the best, will continue to rewrite this history book.” Beth Davidson England Team Captain Document Summary

2 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
“People of all ages can fence, it is exciting, physically challenging and mentally rewarding. There is an opportunity to compete at any level, from local competitions to the Olympic Games. Currently British Fencing has European and World Finalists from Under 17 to Over 60. Fencing a sport for all and a sport for life.” Keith Smith President, British Fencing Association North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007 Vision To provide everyone in the North East Region with the opportunity to participate and succeed in the Sport of Fencing. Mission In line with the Sport England’s mission statement “Start, Stay Succeed”, -“More Fencers, More Coaches, More Clubs” - the mission of North East Fencing is to bring more people into fencing, and to raise standards in coaching and performance at all levels from grassroots to world-class performance. Summary The Whole Sport Plan (WSP) for the period from 2007 to 2012 and beyond sets out strategy and initiatives in order to further the aims and meet the vision. Coaches, Clubs and Universities invest time resources and facilities in Fencing and give this plan support. The Plan aims build a sustainable and effective infrastructure of people and facilities, and involve stakeholders and partners. The North East Region Fencing Association will take a more business like role. Initially the Committee will concentrate on one key objective: A comprehensive audit of the sport of Fencing in the North East, to identify ways to build a structure to take it to 2012 and beyond. To assist in the delivery of this objective, the committee will: Establish realistic, measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Raise awareness and promote fencing with key partners. Establish and maintain links with strategic partners including County Sport Partnerships, Local Authorities, Community Sport Networks, Schools Sport Partnerships, and Community Police and Social Inclusion groups. Establish links with regional Olympic initiatives. Promote North East fencing events and successful local talent. Establish a single pathway structure for fencing for all levels of participation, coaching, volunteering and officiating. Engage with the membership of the fencing community.

3 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
4. Where we are now England Fencing is the National Governing Body for Fencing of which the North East Region is a part, with responsibility for development and member representation. Identified problems are: Large parts of the North East have limited access to Fencing including Teesside, the Durham Dales, rural Northumberland and Tyne Valley. Clubs and coaches generally work in isolation. A “low profile” with few people in the North East aware of fencing, or of its status as an Olympic sport, or of its social and holistic benefits, Support partnerships e.g. with universities and schools sport co-ordinators, work in limited areas with limited funding or sponsorship. Over - reliance on a volunteer culture. Few elite North East Fencers. The presently constituted geographical boundary of the North East Region is not aligned with sports development agencies (Currently under review). The current NERFA committee does not well represent the whole of the North East Region. Action: The Status of fencing in the North East will first be audited: Training needs analysis, leading to a workforce development plan. An analysis of active fencers, by weapon, age category, club /competitive /elite and including disabled/ wheelchair fencers. The number and qualification level of coaches and their needs and aspirations for development. Key personnel and volunteers and their development needs. Clubmark status. Venues and facilities. Ongoing Club projects. Details of grants and income streams. Details of new clubs or coaches that may be invited to affiliate. The result will be a complete audit of fencing activities in the North East in 2007, to be kept up to date and used to develop the Whole Sport Plan. The committee will also research Grant making and Sports Development agencies and other bodies who can assist it in the delivery of the plan.

4 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
The Role of NERFA Committee. The constitutional position of NERFA remains clear in the overall structure of England Fencing, but it will also develop a board of management that ensures a range of professional expertise with and through key partners. The WSP has been agreed by NERFA and endorsed by England Fencing. It will be subject to annual review and will form the basis for agreement and delivery of objectives and measurement of progress through Key Performance Indicators. A board of management will be appointed by the Regional committee to manage the Whole Sport Plan for the North East, and the Regional Committee will monitor its implementation. The board of management will promote the Whole Sport Plan and consist of: NERFA Chairman (honorarium) NERFA Secretary (honorarium) NERFA Treasurer (honorarium) Regional Development Officer (FT staff) Regional Coach Educator staff – likely to be a senior coach) Representatives from identified “hub clubs”, and other key partners (local authorities, CSP, Sport England, EIS, RS Boards etc) England Fencing representative England Institute of Sport Regional Sports Board County sports partnerships

5 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
6. Club Development All Clubs will be invited to engage in a structure which will involve linked pathways in coaching, volunteering, and officiating. Each club wishing to be a part of this scheme will work towards “Clubmark” status and report on its contribution to County Sports Partnerships’ agreed targets and objectives. Affiliated clubs will have equal access to the Regional Development Officer and Regional Coaching Educator. With this support, clubs will be involved in local implementation of the Whole Sport Plan relevant to their individual needs. We will introduce the “hub club” scheme proposed by England Fencing, and promote sharing of resources. Initially these hub clubs will be based on the Fencing centres at Durham, Northumbria and Newcastle Universities, however new hub clubs in Sunderland and Tees Valley areas are also proposed, and in Cumbria (subject to resolution of the regional boundary configuration). A “feeder club” network will link with Schools Sports Partnerships and workshops through to local development clubs, giving clear opportunities for fencers of all levels to progress. Those clubs not designated as “Hubs” will continue to thrive and grow in membership and strengthen their foundation of volunteers, administrators, and referees. Action: Define well-structured and clear pathways of progression via development “Hub” clubs, to elite and national representation. Increase the number of clubs with Clubmark status starting with hub clubs. Improve communication with clubs - actively maintaining website. regular newsletter and membership feed back. Introduce opportunities for pre-cadet, cadet and junior inter-club/ league competitions. Work with England Fencing to provide access to Information to enable successful school age fencers to evaluate opportunities in the North East and more widely when choosing higher education establishments.

6 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
7. Coach Development Coach education is a serious long term commitment. The first step is to appoint a Regional Coach Educator and coaching panel. The main emphasis will be on building a coach education infrastructure with local opportunities for continuing professional development of existing coaches, training of new coaches, and the recruitment of elite coaches to the region. Courses will be nationally recognised and easily accessible. This programme of development will be undertaken in partnership with Sportcoach UK and England Fencing. Action: Appoint a Regional Coach Educator. Provide workshops for coaches in the region to familiarise with the new coach education system. Appoint a regional representative coaching panel. Engage with Learning and Skills Council to include courses within recognised Education programmes. Secure funding to appoint Community Coaches for schools and new starter programmes. Appoint a Community Coach with a special mission for the inclusion of young people identified within the Justice system. Encourage Clubs to work towards Clubmark status and run appropriate courses in Child Protection, Health and Safety, First Aid, Coaching Pedagogy, Sports Science, Performance Enhancing Substances and the Law. We will seek Assistance from Sport England to co-ordinate workshops jointly with clubs in other sports seeking Clubmark Status, such as Child Protection, First Aid etc. Training needs analysis will be carried out by the Regional Coach Educator.

7 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
“An inspirational coach started me fencing at school and over fifty years later it is still a major part of my life.  I never cease to be grateful to that coach and all those who have supported and helped me during my volunteer career as a fencer, coach, referee and administrator.”    John Ramsay, President England Fencing North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007 8. “Officiating” The provision of competent referees in competitive fencing is a serious commitment, requiring long term planning and investment. The main emphasis in the North East will be on building a refereeing infrastructure, similar to that of the participation and coaching infrastructures, that promotes regular, locally based courses. Refereeing courses are internationally recognised, run by the British Fencing Association. Action: Regional Coach Educator will create and sustain opportunities for personal development in refereeing at all levels, and promote continuing professional development for all active referees in the region. NERFA aims to: To increase the number of certificated referees from fencing and volunteering supporters in all three weapons. Run refereeing courses at all levels in all three weapons in the North East. In addition, refereeing will be introduced from pre-cadet level, and young people will be encouraged to referee each other during free-fencing on training nights, and seek accreditation. 9. “Volunteering” Fencing in the North East is dependent on volunteers who give their time and commitment to fencing. Many donate their time and expertise through involvement as parents. It is our intention to include and welcome the participation of volunteers as a rich resource of expertise, and to give them the opportunity to pursue personal development and training. Proper recognition will be given to the work undertaken by volunteers. Training needs analysis will include Volunteers. Volunteers will be encouraged to further their personal development in officiating, refereeing, first aid, child protection, and equity. The Region will run Child Protection courses for volunteers either independently or in conjunction with other sports. Volunteers will have CRB checks in line with Government Policy.

8 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
10. Talent Pathways and Elite Fencers Within each club there will be opportunities for all levels of fencers to participate and retain their interest in fencing through increased levels of competition. Part of this strategy will be to promote home grown talent within the GB ranking schemes and international representation. Grassroots level The audit of clubs in the North East will identify the demographic distribution of Fencing clubs and gaps in provision. The strategy will be to increase the number of Community Coaches to go out into schools and the community, to concentrate on those areas that currently lack club fencing. New fencers will be given the opportunity to join a local development club with a proper training structure in place for continuing support and participation. Young North East fencers have been assisted through the “Tomorrows Achievers Scheme” of England Fencing (TA). The NE will continue to maintain strong links with Tomorrow’s Achievers and promote the TA in the North East by running courses, summer camps and workshops days. In order to increase local opportunities for pre cadet, cadet and junior competitors and provide a richer experience for club adult fencers who choose not to enter national open competitions, regular local events will be instituted to introduce young fencers to competition at local level. Action: Appoint Community Coaches. Create and Promote regular competitions in the region. Organise and promote summer camps and workshop days. Engage with County Sports Partnerships in activities such as Youth Games, and Sport and Culture initiatives. Work with CSP competition managers to become one of ten “Focus Sports”.

9 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
Elite level In the last few years, the North East has provided a significant contribution to England’s Junior teams in the Home Nations competitions, and there is a small but growing number of North East fences in the top 20 of national rankings at all age levels. A concerted effort will be made, through the hub clubs scheme, to allow young talented fencers access to elite level training with World Class coaches in their weapon, and identify grants bursaries and scholarships. Talented elite fencers in the region include students of the five main universities in the Region. Following consultation with the Universities the Region will explore the possibility of them working together to attract more elite students, through extension of sports science support, subsidies and scholarships schemes, and mutual access arrangements allowing them to train at the highest level while studying for a degree ,and encourage them to stay in the area once they graduate to form a nucleus of elite senior fencers. The London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games give extra emphasis to regional efforts to maximise the efforts and benefits of participation for individuals and teams. Hub clubs will develop links with similar clubs overseas and there will be a regular exchange of fencers and fencing workshops. Aims: Regain and sustain Winton Cup first division status in 2007 and thereafter. Enter a Junior Winton Cup team in 2007. Develop male and female fencers in all weapons who will be dominant in the Great Britain cadet, junior and senior rankings. Field teams of fencers from the North East capable of winning the British Fencing Senior National Championships team event, in all three weapons. Field fencers from the North East capable of selection for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in both the individual and team events. Field at least one FIE standard referee in all weapons. Recruit and maintain world class coaches in all three weapons. Provide professional sport science support for all elite fencers. Assist elite fencers in the region to find appropriate financial sponsorship. Clarify the feeder-club routes and promote greater communication and collaboration between all clubs and coaches in the region. To instigate a mutual access scheme for major clubs and universities. To extend schemes for scholarships and bursaries for elite fencers at participating universities.

10 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
"Learning to fence at 51 and competing in the "Vets" has opened up a whole new world of opportunities, friends and challenges and has taken me to four continents!  My experience suggests that anyone can take up fencing - whatever their age and having enormous fun doing so!" Carole Seheult, Regional Chairman North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007 Disabled and Wheelchair Fencing, and Special Needs The North East will ensure that clubs welcome and embrace the opportunity to provide access for disabled fencers, and that clubs are aware of current disability discrimination policy and law. Guidance will be placed on the NERFA website, and clubs will be encouraged to adopt the British Fencing Association policy, as part of their progress towards Clubmark status. Existing initiatives in Durham and Easington will be developed as models for widening participation and promoting equality. Action: Employ part time specialist coach to work with people with disabilities to increase integration at school and club level. NERFA website information resource on legislation and best practice. NERFA will promote the “Count Me In” campaign. Wheelchair fencers will be included in regionally organised events. Veterans The North East has a significant veterans’ contingent with several active at international level. The region will promote the benefits of fencing in terms of health and fitness. NERFA will work with voluntary and statutory organisations such as Age Concern and Primary Care Trusts to promote participation in Fencing as a healthy and enjoyable activity for older people. NERFA will encourage veteran fencers to join the National Veterans Association and consider opportunities to host and support Veteran fencing events within the Region.

11 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
11. Social Inclusion, Equity and Protection NERFA fully endorses and adopts the British Fencing Equity Statement and the Sport England Racial Equality Charter and will assist in helping to disseminate all British Fencing Association Guidelines. In addition, NERFA will continue to actively consult with the British Fencing Equity Officer to ensure that clubs are working to create a non-discriminatory and positive environment for all their fencers. Action: In order to promote inclusion NERFA will: Support clubs to have effective equity policies and welfare arrangements. Enable clubs to work towards Clubmark status. Promote Sport England’s NSPCC standards for young people in sport. Ensure that coaches play a positive role in the fight against illegal doping. In partnership with Police and local authorities, appoint a Community Coach to work with disaffected youngsters. Protection of children and vulnerable adults The North East recognises it has a responsibility to support the British Fencing Child Protection Policy and has a clear commitment to safeguard children and vulnerable adults involved in fencing from harm. Action: Promote the National Governing Body policies for Child Protection. Provide and publicise mechanisms for raising concerns and recording and acting on issues raised in accordance with national requirements. Ensure that all clubs have an effective Child protection Policy in place. Organise Courses and workshops in Child Protection issues. Ensure all clubs have an officer with responsibility for child welfare. Disseminate guidelines for recruitment of volunteers to all clubs. Ensure that all relevant persons have CRB clearance and training.

12 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
12. Promotion and Publicity Publicity is vital to expand participation levels in the North East. One of the issues identified by this Whole Sport plan is that despite fencing being an Olympic Sport, public awareness is low and the perception is often that fencing is elitist and inaccessible. There is therefore an need for change in perceptions of the sport in the North East. Ways to improve public perception are through publicity and promotion of talent, media coverage of events and provision of opportunities for sponsorships. Action: Appoint a full time Regional Development Officer part of whose responsibility will be to: Increase the current media coverage. Improve communications between the committee and clubs to gather information on “Good News” stories. Maintain the website. Identify top fencers from throughout the North East to take part in media and sponsorship events. Improve knowledge about opportunities for grants and sponsorship. Secure commercial and corporate sponsorship for fencing. Create promotional leaflets. Explore merchandising opportunities. Provide help and advice to secure sponsorship. Work with competitions organisers in the North East to provide advertising and marketing opportunities at venues. Competitions One of the best ways to promote the sport is to have a range of accessible Junior Competitions to encourage and support young competitive fencers, leading to participation in national events. The Durham “Leon Paul” competitions in all three weapons will continue to be supported, as will Regional competitions for all weapons, and the annual regional qualifiers for the British National Youth Championships. Start North East Junior league Competitions. Appoint Part time competitions secretary.

13 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
13. Partnerships One of the first tasks will be to forge partnerships and networks within the fencing community. When a coherent corporate approach to fencing in the North East has been developed, fencing can hope to forge meaningful partnerships with external agencies. The Regional Coaching Development Officer will work closely with Community Coaches to develop sound links with School Sports Partnerships, Local Authorities, Community Sport networks, the Community Police and Social Inclusion Groups and other identified partners. Action: Ensure that NERFA meets regularly with Sport England. Recruit active partners from within the commercial sector. Establish links with strategic partners such as The National Governing Body, County Sport Partnerships, Local Authorities, Community Sport Networks and Schools Sport Partnerships, and Community Police and Social Inclusion Authorities. Facilities Most fencing throughout the country takes place in school halls or local sports centres. Whilst such facilities may be suitable for teaching beginners the basics of fencing, their floors are not usually suitable for competitive fencing. The Region will seek to work with the Universities to support and help to plan current and future developments for dedicated fencing facilities. Currently the University of Durham has plans for a £4.5 million development of sports facilities which is due for completion in late 2008 / early This development will include dedicated Fencing facilities in a building to be shared only with cricket. Northumbria University has proposed plans to include dedicated fencing provision within an overall £19M capital bid. Newcastle University also plans to invest more in fencing at the university.

14 North East Regional Fencing Whole Sport Plan Summary Document 2007
15. Finance and business planning An effective plan needs commitment of financial resources centrally, as well as by individuals and clubs financing their own participation. Entry costs are modest, with shared loan equipment being available already in fencing centres and some clubs, and through some schools programmes. After school or club sessions can be largely self financing providing there is a willing and suitably qualified coach able to travel to take the sessions. Up to school year 7, coaches may use less expensive “mini-fence” equipment, and/or a stock of loan equipment once the beginners move on to using metal weapons. Serious competitive participation requires regular individual lessons, with the cost of accommodation and travel to competitions (e.g. for national age group and open competition circuits). A number of promising fencers have individually succeeded in attracting minor bursaries and grants. Fencing can become very expensive for those hoping to fence internationally at Cadet, Junior and Senior level, who will need full sets of international grade equipment, and have to meet the expense of attending squad training and travel abroad to competitions. Parents and fencers soon realise that they are responsible for funding their involvement in the sport, which can easily exceed £6,000 per year once a fencer starts to attend international competitions. As far as possible NERFA must ensure that no promising young fencer is prevented from pursuing their quest to the highest level because they are from an economically deprived background. Actions: The Development Officer and the North East web site will publicise and offer guidance on sources of financial support. Elite fencers may be eligible for TASS, will be linked to regional universities, and for scholarships and bursaries from the North East universities. Clubs will be made aware of sources such as Sport For All, and Princes’ Trust. Funding will be sought to support the salaries and overheads of the Regional Development Officer, the Regional Coach Educator, and Community Coaches. In addition, funding will be sought for the honorarium awards to key members of the NERFA committee.

15 Design and photography
This is an abbreviated version of the Whole Sport Plan for fencing, a full version with more details of the proposals and supplementary appendices is available from the North East Web site or by request from the Carole Seheult, Regional Chairman. Regional website For further information about fencing: British Fencing 1 Baron's Gate, Rothschild Road, London W4 5HT Tel: Fax: Web: Design and photography

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