Grosvenor Fencing recently became the first fencing club to become Clubmark NI accredited.
The club has been in existence for over 35 years and has around 60 members, with fencers ranging from eight years of age to senior internationals and beyond, including five current Northern Ireland and Irish champions.
Grosvenor has realised many benefits through its involvement in the Clubmark NI programme, including building much closer relationships with the club’s local authority and sports development officer.
The guidance provided through the club’s designated support officer helped to identify key areas for change and the new structures implemented within the club have seen membership grow by 25% since accreditation and the workload is now shared by more people with specific responsibilities.
Clubmark NI has also been given the ‘thumbs up’ by parents who view accreditation as an endorsement of the club.
The club now plans to keep progressing, developing coaches and implementing an on-going development plan. Club representative John Little said: “Although Clubmark NI may seem like a difficult challenge at times, by utilising the support and resources on the Sport Northern Ireland Clubmark NI webpage and through the excellent support of local sports development officers, it can be achieved quite readily.
“I have found that Clubmark NI accreditation has resulted in a new confidence and enthusiasm within my club that has resulted in an increase in membership and improvement in our results.”
The fencing club has three main objectives — to provide the best coaching, competition experience and training facilities in Northern Ireland. The club works constantly to achieve these goals for the benefit of members.
“Fencing is fast, explosive and dynamic,” states the club’s website.
“Imagine a sport played out with the skill and strategy of a game of chess, but at high speed and intense pressure. Fencing is not a martial art and there are no moves designed to hurt anyone. This Olympic sport is all about out-smarting and out-skilling your opponent to make a touch on their target area to score a point.
“We pride ourselves on running a fun and friendly club.”