We know how tough the last year of lockdown restrictions has been on players, clubs and coaches, but hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel is real this time. We were delighted to see so many of our juniors return this month, and we can’t wait for the rest of you to follow suit when you can.
It’s amazing to think that it’s over 12 months ago that club sessions had to stop for the first lockdown. Although some clubs have only existed as virtual teams, we knew that many would be back when we saw the brilliant engagement of so many that joined in with our #BEatHome campaign.
Even during those early lockdowns, so many clubs were thinking about how they would return, staying up to date with the protocols that we developed and with the work that we were doing with government to get people back as soon and as safely as possible. Now finally, after multiple revisions of the guidance in line with changing regulations, they can make the final preparations to return, using the tools that we have provided to make it as easy as possible for our member clubs and coaches.
Because of the changing situation across the country through 2020, and to ensure that clubs and coaches got the maximum possible support, we continued to stay close to them. We’ve now taken that one step further, launching our biggest ever community consultation – Let’s Talk Badminton – and giving you an opportunity to give us your feedback on how we can emerge stronger as a sport.
But we know that we can’t just listen. Clubs and coaches have suffered financially through lost income and increased costs. That’s why we offered members a 25% reduction in fees for the 20/21 season, to reflect the time you’d been off court and also launched our Hardship Fund giving a much needed lifeline to those clubs and coaches who had been impacted financially by Covid-19. At the time we expected clubs to be back long before now, but given the extended time off, we will shortly be launching a number of new offers for the remainder of this season and next to ensure club finances don’t stop them getting back on court. Clubs should also be benefitting from the other potential income streams such as EasyFundraising, and available grants, that we’ve continued to bring to them.
And our plans to transform membership don’t stop there. We’ve held over 50 session with members on how we need to transform membership in the future. We don’t feel that now is the right time to launch that scheme, but will be discussing the 2022/23 scheme with members once they return.
Our sport couldn’t exist without the thousands of volunteers that give their time week in and week out. We recently launched a new Volunteers Hub in addition to a Coordinator Hub full of resources to help our workforce return safely and confidently. Our Coaches toolkit also provides handy tips and guides to aid the process of getting everyone back on court.
We also gave you the opportunity to #AskUs in an online series allowing you to have your questions answers by experts within the business. National Coach Anthony Clark gave his thoughts on the future of doubles in this country, and Major Events Director Chris Miller answered your questions on the YONEX All England Open.
Speaking of which, as the flagship event in Badminton England’s calendar, we didn’t want you to miss out on a second of the action at this year’s YONEX All England Open. That’s why we brought you all 5 courts of the action exclusively on BETV for our members. And all of that action is still available for those that want to rewatch it and get themselves ready to play like champions!
A huge amount has happened through a very trying year for all those involved in our sport. And there’s lots more to come as we start welcoming you all back on to court this month. We hope you use all of the resources and videos available to help you get back on to court very soon.