On behalf of everyone at Badminton England, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy at this time.
I want to remain in regular contact to let you know what's been happening at Badminton England since we all became gripped into this very challenging period.
We’ve been working hard to establish the focus of the organisation in this time while also needing to remain flexible and adaptable during a period that continues to move so quickly:
- Secure English badminton, particularly given the loss of £1m income the organisation will sustain as a direct consequence of the coronavirus situation
- Provide clear information and regular updates to members, fans, clubs, CBAs, coaches and keeping them engaged
- Be clear on our priorities through this time and what we need to be doing as we emerge when the time is right
We have organised Badminton England into three phases of working:
We are currently in the Protect phase where our attention is on reforecasting our financial position for the year and we will present a revised budget to the Board at the end of May.
These are truly unprecedented times and the financial impact of the coronavirus situation is creating significant challenges, operationally and financially, and we are having to make some tough choices about where we prioritise our financial resources that have been severely impacted by the pandemic.
We have needed to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme announced by Government and at the beginning of April, furloughed 46 of our 68 staff, from the beginning of May we will have increased to approximately 50% of our usual staff capacity. This may mean that our response times will be tested, and I ask for your understanding and patience, but we will respond to any queries as quickly as we possibly can.
You will also have seen that we have regrettably had to withdraw from England hosting the European Mixed Team Championships that we were scheduled to stage in February 2021.
The sustainability of English badminton must be our priority, and this includes our clubs, coaches, leagues and County Badminton Associations. We must be ready to ensure badminton in England is ready to go again when the time is right, and we could not risk diluting the support desperately needed by our grass roots community by pursuing the investment necessary to host the Championships.
Our focus right now is to help our clubs, coaches and County Badminton Associations. We are providing a significant amount of guidance as they manage their respective challenges and are working with Sport England to prepare an application to the Community Emergency Fund recently announced.
We have gathered a significant amount of data from those who have completed our online questionnaire and we are keen to secure the financial assistance that will help clubs to not just get through this period but be ready to operate, and thrive again.
Rest assured, the team and are working incredibly hard to support the badminton community as much as we can.
During such a challenging time, we appreciate that communication can be missed. Hopefully, through this period, our most important messages and communications have reached you and that you have been able to access the content hub that is live on our website providing a range of help and guidance.
We have just begun a major project to speak to every club, coach and County Badminton Association. We want to know how you are all doing in these challenging times, what concerns you have about restarting badminton and how we might be able to help; informing and supporting the badminton community is our no1. priority.
We are beginning to discuss how we all return to badminton and a fundamental goal must be how we come together when the time is right. Accepting that there is a long way to go until normal business can be resumed, I want us to have a plan in place to lead the preparation for the playing of badminton in England well in advance of the social distancing restrictions being lifted so that we can all prepare in good time and optimise our return.
As an Olympic and Paralympic sport, discussions are taking place with Government and UK Sport about the return to training of elite athletes. We will only do this when Government allows us to and when we do not compromise the safety of our players, coaches and staff.
None of us know when we will begin to come through this situation, but when the time comes, we want to be in a position where the badminton community is ready to go.
In the meantime, thank you for your ongoing support and stay safe and healthy.