We are currently focused on helping the badminton community through the Covid19 pandemic and are in the process of calling every club, coach, and County Badminton Association to understand more about the challenges you face as you begin to consider your respective returns to badminton.
We have already contacted over 1,500 affiliated clubs and registered coaches and thank everyone that has taken the time to talk to us. It has been a hugely valuable exercise and the feedback provided has helped shaped the guidance we have been able, and will continue, to offer.
Despite not being able to get on court, so many of you have been doing a great job keeping your members engaged with online content and updates, especially through our #BeatHome campaign. However, you’ve also told us that you are concerned about playing numbers, the finances of your clubs and the availability of facilities on return to play.
And there is a clear message through all calls - that you need help and guidance when it comes to navigating the return to play; how to run sessions, manage court time, handle equipment, in fact all elements of playing badminton.
We recognise the size of the challenges and here’s a summary of what we are doing to help you all get back on court and back to playing and enjoying the game we love.
Return to Play Guidance
You have told us that the thing you need most is clear guidance on when and how you can return to play.
On May 20th we published our Return to Play Roadmap which we will continue to update in line with Government and Public Health England guidance. We will also be publishing more detailed guidance later this month to support you, as a player, club or coach, plan your own return to play. We are also continually updating our Covid19 Support Hub to help answer the various questions you may have as you consider returning to play. Please keep checking our website and social media for updates.
Once the guidance has been published, we will organise a series of webinars to help you understand the detail and to raise any questions or concerns you may have.
Keeping your members and players engaged
You told us that you are concerned about some players not returning to your club or coaching sessions. Your feedback told us this could be due to several things such as an anxiety from some players, particularly juniors and those in vulnerable groups, and a loss of momentum or routine.
To help you, we with have collated some of the best examples of clubs that have continued to engage with their members whilst face to face sessions have not been possible. And with the weather being unseasonably good this spring, we are encouraging people to play outdoors and will update you shortly on how we can help. The latest guidelines allow for up to six players to meet in the park for a hit while observing social distancing.
We have also listened when you have told us that the return to sport for those shielding and in vulnerable groups may be slower than for others. That is why we will continue to offer at home activities, similar to those available through the #BEatHome campaign, for these groups to keep them engaged in our sport as we value all players and look forward to their safe return to play.
Session / club management
As we all plan a return to play you have told us that you have concerns about how to manage sessions that will need to have restricted numbers and how to ensure these sessions are still engaging and interactive.
We heard that some clubs were looking at paying for online services to help them, so we are providing a service to affiliated clubs and registered coaches, allowing you to manage your sessions safely. This will help you conform with government guidance and in the longer term to reduce the administrative burden of running your club and sessions. The service, available on the web or via a mobile app, allows you set up sessions, manage bookings and numbers in advance and promote your club/sessions to a new and wider audience with free listing on the Badminton England and partner activity finders. More details of the club management service will be published this month.
You have also told us of the concerns you have in relation to the impact having to restrict numbers will have on the enjoyment of your members and players.
We are therefore putting together guidance, in partnership with a cohort of coaches, on how these sessions can still be valued and enjoyable whilst still conforming to the restrictions that are in place. More details on this guidance, including session templates will be available on our Coaches Resource Hub free to all registered coaches. We will continue to provide more templates, resources and guidance here to help you deliver sessions that conform with social distancing requirements and still provide a positive experience for all.
We have been delighted to learn how valuable the #BEatHome campaign has been for keeping you active and your members engaged. You have asked for more content such as this as we move towards a return to play as well as to help your own personal development and learning.
Our Virtual Activity Finder provides a wide variety of activities that you can do in the comfort of your own home, garden or local park. We will also shortly be launching our Outdoor Badminton guide to help you take advantage of the opportunity to play outdoors with others whilst sports halls are closed.
To help your personal development, we have made a number of courses available online such as The Racket Pack Training and Essentials endorsed bolt on course (*coaches will be required to sign up to the free Coaches Resource Hub). The ‘Safeguarding & Protecting Children’ course can now also be completed online and until the end of August you can access the ‘Mental Health Awareness for Sport & Physical Activity’ course free of charge (usually £18).
In addition, whilst face to face meetings and networking is a challenge, we will be introducing a series of club and coach webinars focusing on key topics and areas of support. This will bring likeminded clubs and coaches together to share ideas and best practice. More information on these webinars will be shared soon.
Financial challenges & funding
Your feedback has demonstrated there is a clear concern over the financial implications of Covid19 in terms of loss of sessions and income. We take very seriously the possibility of clubs folding and coaches no longer being able to coach.
We therefore want to provide as much support as possible to navigate through these difficult times. We are currently exploring what is possible around your affiliation for the coming season to try to reduce some of this impact. While the Sport England Community Emergency Fund is paused to new applications, we are in constant discussions with them and other potential partners to try and develop specific support for badminton clubs and coaches for later in the year.
We have been sorry to hear of the impact that Covid19 has had on your plans for important fundraising to support your club, sessions and activity. Several clubs have made us aware that they have already had to cancel summer sessions, tournaments and events that often provide important fundraising income to support activities throughout the rest of the season.
We fully understand how difficult fundraising can be at the best of times, not least in the current climate. That is why we have partnered with easyfundraising to provide alternative opportunities to raise funds and make it much simpler for you – clubs and coaches.
It’s really simple: when anyone connected to your club or sessions – supporters, players, staff etc - use the easyfundraising website or app to shop online with 4000 leading shops and sites like Amazon, eBay, Just Eat, John Lewis, M&S, Asos, Argos & Tesco, the retailer they shop with sends you a free donation at no extra cost.
To join them, simply register with easyfundraising - it’s completely free to register and use and only takes two minutes to get started.
We want to ensure that our members get full value for their affiliation and membership fees; however, many people we have spoken to have made it clear they are happy that their affiliation fees remain in the sport to support its restart and development. We are continuing to explore a number of options for the coming season that we hope will help ease some of the financial burden club and coaches will experience whilst still being able to provide the ongoing support you require. We will announce further details on this shortly to all affiliated clubs, members and coaches.
You have told us about your concerns in relation to the facilities you use for your club nights and coaching sessions. These include whether your facility will open early enough to re-book and re-establish these for the new season, challenges with conforming with new booking protocols and procedures and potential increases in booking costs that will need to be managed.
We understand these concerns and want to help where we can. We are currently liaising with our leisure operator and school facility management partners to understand how changes they are planning could impact on you and to ensure we can make you aware of these as soon as possible whilst helping with planning to accommodate them. We are lobbying for you as key stakeholders in their facilities to reduce the impact any of their proposed changes will have on you. We will continue to update the badminton community on the findings and outcomes of these meetings.