PDA

View Full Version : How to start a club



kingkenny
-15th August 2006, 14:00
If anyone has any information on how to start, run or manage a club please could they post it here. I would like to make a leaflet or web page for sending out to universities schools theatres etc.

Here is some topics or titles:
costing
how to find coaches
how to find a suitable venue
getting a grant
Legal issues
Club branding or naming
Small club competition organisation
Equipment to get started

Any one that gets used will get a 50 LP voucher.

Rdb811
-15th August 2006, 14:45
Potted summary as I could write forever on this subject:

Check there is not already a club in the area - obvious but everybody and their dog seems to end up setting up clubs in South London.

Costing - Assume one and a half times the number of kit (jackets, masks, steam foils)for the size of the beginners class to cover different sized people plus the cost of one box. Coach will cost between 20 - 30 per hour - about the same for hall hire unless lucky.. Really need two coaches - one for beginners and one for experienced fencers. Allow for enough boxes / coaches for number of fencers. Say about 3K capital and 2k perunning costs for teh first year. Allow extra for entering team events, BFA membership etc.

Ask the BAF for coaches in the area - they should be able to put you in touch with somebody who knows somebody.

Venue - tricky bit - try schools, sports centres, TA halls, ask your council's sports development officer or look on their web site. Grant - Lottery Funding, try council.

Download club constitution from BFA website and check it includes a clause excluding the coach from the running of the club or selecting teams. Find a committee to prevent the club dying with you when you collapse form overwork.

Club name used to be either name different to somebody else's or fencing maitre - this has gone by the wayside.

Club competition - either run on club nights or hire a venue for a day. Former annoys fencers turning up on spec but easier to do, later creates sense of ocassion. Poule unique or two rounds of pools with promotion plus barrage works best. Have different comps for beginners and novices (steam, first years only).

Notify your local county union and set up matches with local clubs and enter local events.

hokers
-15th August 2006, 15:00
I'll write a bit about running a university club at some point.

Rdb811
-15th August 2006, 15:19
My costs are wrong - 5k per year assuming one coach - build in a suplus to allow for a rainy day and to replace kit and buy more boxes. Don't forget web site and BFA membership for the club.

Forgot church halls as a venue - when selecting venue check floor is suitable (non slippy and even), you can run late occassionally, you won't get closed or have to miss nights at short notice.

nippy sweetie
-15th August 2006, 17:45
And of course inform the organisers of all the different suppliers of fencing equipment so they can make informed choices! Cynical moi?

kingkenny
-16th August 2006, 07:15
Rdb811 thanks very much its a good start I will need to expand on each point.
How much would you say fencing cost and indervidual to get started?
What should club fees start at?
Does anyone use something similar to the Mini Fence scheme? If so what do you charge and do you get many kids coming?

Rdb811
-16th August 2006, 08:22
Rdb811 thanks very much its a good start I will need to expand on each point.
How much would you say fencing cost and indervidual to get started?
What should club fees start at?
Does anyone use something similar to the Mini Fence scheme? If so what do you charge and do you get many kids coming?

The initail outlay - track suit bottoms, tee shirt and squash shoes everybody should have - beginners courses are normally between 60 and 120 for eight to ten weeks (two hours) - there are some real rip off merchants out there. Saya 200 for various bits of kit over the first year. A lot depends on how much the venue costs. Annual fees foe one night say 150 -200 depending on how many nights are fenced. Essentially you have to raise the 5000 or whaterever the running costs plus capex (capital expenditure - boxes, beginners kit) without pricing yourself out of the market - the 150 is about the going rate for other sports I know of. I'm quoting London suburban prices - I daresay that in other parts of the country prices and expectations are different.

Marcos
-16th August 2006, 08:41
how apt given that I am thinking of starting a club

however, it depends on the starting point and aims of the club:

1. Start from scratch teaching begginers

2. Private club aimed at experienced fencers (such as Swash I think)

3. Start in a University teaching mix iof begginers and possibly some who fenced in school

4. Start teaching in school


each has different challenges and costs associated. Given that to start with I am starting a club to teach experienced fences, and hoping to borrow boxes off existing clubs, the only outlay is hall hire and coaching equipment

[b]Finding a venue[b] isn't straightforward but shouldn't be hard either - private gyms don't allow you to hire space, but local schools are generally amenable, and council run sports centres are generally quite cheap...

...like most things it is a mixture of the Yellow (Golden) Pages and hitting the streets. Shouldn't take more than a fortnight to find a place that is suitable (and hasn;t been booked out by Martial Arts classes!)

Marcos
-16th August 2006, 08:58
Regarding naming a club, again it depends on how many clubs are in the area and the coach

For instance, I'm looking to start in Dundalk - well, Dundalk Fencing Club sounds a decent name.

has to be easy to understand in the Phone book / internet.

I think there are specific conventions for naming a club "Salle" based on the International Academy of Arms coaching levels (Maitre, etc)

of course, like all branding, the more mature the market, the more complex naming and branding...if there were 10 fencing clubs already in Dundalk I'd have to look for a unique selling point or specific brand to advertise depending on what my strengths are and who is going to come to the club

Rdb811
-16th August 2006, 09:13
how apt given that I am thinking of starting a club

however, it depends on the starting point and aims of the club:

1. Start from scratch teaching begginers

2. Private club aimed at experienced fencers (such as Swash I think)

3. Start in a University teaching mix iof begginers and possibly some who fenced in school

4. Start teaching in school


each has different challenges and costs associated. Given that to start with I am starting a club to teach experienced fences, and hoping to borrow boxes off existing clubs, the only outlay is hall hire and coaching equipment

[b]Finding a venue[b] isn't straightforward but shouldn't be hard either - private gyms don't allow you to hire space, but local schools are generally amenable, and council run sports centres are generally quite cheap...

...like most things it is a mixture of the Yellow (Golden) Pages and hitting the streets. Shouldn't take more than a fortnight to find a place that is suitable (and hasn;t been booked out by Martial Arts classes!)

Actaully the cost models are fairly similar - Option A Beginners kit; Option B Boxes for experienced fencers, Option C - is your hall paid for ? Option I sthe coach paid for ?

Expect to run a loss in the first six months to a year.

From what I know of finding venues, I think you're being a bit optomistic on the ease of finding a suitable one.

Also on venues - check public transport links and whetehr or not you can store kit there.

miker
-16th August 2006, 09:34
From what I know of finding venues, I think you're being a bit optomistic on the ease of finding a suitable one.


I would concur...

Large council-run (or for that matter Uni/college-run) halls are surprisingly difficult and expensive to hire.

Church & community halls probably easiest and cheapest but often tight for space (1 badminton court ~= 2 pistes) and you will usually forfeit showers & changing facilities.

Have personal experience of surprising success with some private (commercial) sports clubs part-letting halls / court areas shared with other activities (eg fencing, trampolining & tai-chi sharing one large hall - the juxtaposition of gentle calm tai-chi and frenetic 'Et-la!'-ing foilists is a joy to behold - but still only just affordable. And this ties your fencing night to the same as the other/sharing activity.

Anyway - good luck!

AMC
-16th August 2006, 13:10
The hardest part of all is getting the right venue. For a good hall with four badmington courts which is enough space for approx fifty/sixty fencers (keeping safty in mind) you would be lucky to get this for under 50 for a two hour session.

Odd Job
-16th August 2006, 15:31
Start Small, Think Big
As a founder member of a club that only started last year, here goes

We started with 9 people from a begineers course (now up to 28)
luckly, the coach was running courses through the year and we only paid for the venue & the coach on the nights that the begineers courses weren't running.

Venue
Village Hall - cost at the beginning 15-00 per hr (discount if you book for the year! ask the question at the start) now had to move to a larger venue - V hard to find one that is suitable and availiable at the times & day you want we now pay 37-00 for 2 1/4 hours (Cheap)
other venue ideas - Scout/Guide/BB/GB HQs, church/village halls, sports centers - council/school/national venues, gyms/health clubs
also to remember facilities - changing rooms/showers/bar/food & drink/parking & how to get there also ask about storeage facilities

money:
Work out how much in a year it would cost to pay for a coach & hall hire plus BFA etc, divided by 12 & the number of fencers you've got to begin with, this will give you a monthly subs (rounded up) in the constitution you make it that you have to pay wether you turn up or not and get them to do by either SO or DD - this makes life a lot lot easier also an annual membership - this would cover for small equipment purchases & equip mtce

kit
Personal - ask manufactures on club/starter kits, discounts for bulk orders etc
Salle equip - depends upon level of fencing - at the start you only need steam,
electric - is there a local club willing to lend/hire you kit? lottery/sport england/sponsership/donation monies to fund purchase of full sets of recording equip (2wpn 706, 3wpn 767)

Enthusiasm, get a committe together - you can't do all your self
finally if I can attached some information from colchester fencing about development

if you want any more info just PM me
TTFN
Odd Job

Odd Job
-16th August 2006, 15:34
files to big!
send me your email andI'll send it
cheers
Odd Job

Captchris
-18th August 2006, 14:13
Hi,

Last October I started a fencing club at my school. When I did some of my training at the school before qualifying as an NQT, there was talk with the then head of PE whereby we bring fencing in as part of A level PE. As Fencing is a 'closed' skill.

Since then the head of PE changed and I asked if I could bring it in as an afterschool club. They said yes and asked how much....

I gave them an estimate of 1800.00;
1 x 10 person starter set plus some of the sweetie bowl chest protector cups for the girls and there may have been (and has been) a need for some more left handed gloves and foils.

The Head of PE picked herself up from the floor and asked if there was anywhere I could get funding. I started looking around; Awards for All etc and somebody mentioned somewhere that I talk to John Ramsay at England Fencing.

I was lucky enough to be just in time, as the committee were about to discuss some other applications for funding. All I needed to do was to create a letter of application and send it off to him asap. I did so and was informed that England Fencing would buy the kit as long as there were some provisos.

Fortunately we have staff fencing as well as the students and this coming year we are hoping to progress the students who started last October and bring in some new beginners into the fold.

Moral of the story; Talk to as many people as possible... Local coaches, PE departments (if in a school), try and go to as many places as possible for funding.

You never know where you can get help from. You'll probably find it in the least likely of places.

Nick
-19th August 2006, 00:41
If you're trying to make a living as a Coach but live in an area without much in the way of clubs.

One word "Canvas".

Email everyone including Private Schools, Public Schools, State Schools, Youth Clubs, Large Local companies.

Follow enquiry Emails up with infomation packs about a basic begginers course/or corporate team building sessions.

Try to get hold of a direct phone link to someone who is actually in charge and badger them until you get a meeting.

Sell them an idea and focus on presenting a professional image.

arrange day time or late afternoon sessions (up to 6.30) and borrow kit from other clubs at times when they aren't using it.

This sets up your source of fencers. Some will try for the length of the course and then say "it's not for them" which is why you need to cover as many groups as possible. Let all the people on your courses know that starting at the end of their course is a local club who would be happy to have them continue their development.

(with the schools remember to have a one year, three year and five year plan to present).

locate the school where you have the most interest and see if you can get them to invest in lunge pads. Once the lunge pads are installed it becomes much easier to convince them to let you use the space out of school hours.

As for sports halls which are being used already on the one night you have available, why not see if you can manage a better offer in terms of a year long contract for the space at that time. Most classes seem to run for an hour to an hour and a half. A fencing Club should be two to three hours per session. If you cut out the fifteen-thirty minute change over time between classes the people who run the sports hall make more money.

But most importantly remember to run the entire set up as a business. The ideal situation is to have a club which can sustain itself during the quiet patches without any major impact on the club bank account.

Be prepared to spend a small portion of your budget on advertising, this includes posters on every lamp post flyers (dress a couple of people up in fencing gear minus swords and send them through the centre of town handing out leaflets.

Also have prices for "packages" prepared. A begginers course with steam only weapons would cost less than one with electric fencing by the final week. But try to have a range of prices instead of a dead fixed rate. i.e. Begginers courses cost from 500 per week to 1800 or regular coaching session costs from 4 per person per evening to 20 (these aren't accurate figures just examples of possible wording).

Do not feel that you are scamming people because you are not! What you will probably find is that you are actually charging far less than most groups and yet are delivering far more.
Look at how much people are paying for the most expensive activity in your area and don't be afraid to charge the same. Fencing is worth the extra cost (especially if your advertising says it is).

Final point. Even when the club is successful and reaching capacity don't stop advertising and be ready with a new revamped poster as soon as people stop noticing the old one.

Rdb811
-21st August 2006, 09:12
Also have prices for "packages" prepared. A begginers course with steam only weapons would cost less than one with electric fencing by the final week. But try to have a range of prices instead of a dead fixed rate. i.e. Begginers courses cost from 500 per week to 1800 or regular coaching session costs from 4 per person per evening to 20 (these aren't accurate figures just examples of possible wording).



Couple of small points - my Treasurer would go ape havng to deal with lots of "packages" (unless he sets them up himself). I suspect steam foil needs as much resource as electric.

Aoife
-22nd August 2006, 01:50
But electric needs breeches unless they're children with little weapons. Not to mention boxes, wires, potentially lames (unless you're doing beginner epee). A fully non-electric club has disadvantages but could prove cheaper in the beginning, then electric stuff could be bought with profits, and as the fencers get more proficient and ready to use it (maybe it's just by old-fashionedness, but I sometimes think fencers put on 'lecies too soon start fencing purely to get a light, regardless of their technique).


Small club competition organisation

Oh, now this is fun!

Firstly you have to decide what sort of comp. Is it a internal comp within your club? Is it one against other local clubs (ie not run by you)? Or is it a club outing to a 'real' comp?

Internals are easy-peasy, and a great way to teach reffing, poules, DEs and the like. I've met so many first-timers at comps who don't have a clue what the format is, what's happening when and where, and are generally feeling a it lost (I was also like that my first time). Simulating larger comps within the club, say for an 'end of year' competition, can help fencers be lest nervous of their first comp outside the club. Also, if the club breaks up for summer, the last week before isn't a great time for an end of year comp, as loads of people vannish on holidays then :rolleyes: In your club nobody needs their own BFA membership, and you can do it steam if there are breeches problems.

Local friendlies are a bit more tricky. Most clubs are happy to have friendlies, I've found. Decide where the better (usually read: bigger) venue is, and find a suitable time and date. Then- teams or individuals? Maybe the leaders of the clubs could get together and co-buy a small trophy for winners; you could have one for the over-all winning team, or one each for the best scoring fencing from each club, or one for the best scoring fencer over-all, or best team if in teams, or a combination of small prizes. Best to keep local friendlies between two clubs or two organisers (with perhaps several clubs each) or else it could get rather confusing. Inter-club comps can be quite unequal when it comes to kit. One club might have lot of electric stuff, one club may have club breeches, et cetera. Work out what both clubs are capable of providing before deciding anything. Wouldn't want one side to turn up in trackies for electric fencing they thought would be steam.

Club outings. Ahh the fun. Firstly, if doing this with children there's a whole heap of fun with permission slips, insurance, and CRBs for adults accompnying. Anybody attending needs their own BFA membership, allow at least 10 working days to process the membership before the comp, no last minute suprises! It helps if the people going either have their own competition equipment ('leccies and breeches) or there is sufficient club stuff that people who want to go can borrow it. Also- don't forget socks. Club socks is a nasty idea, but if club breeches are being worn, you can bet people will forget to bring long socks! :) Then there's the choice- mini-bus or making your own way there? A minibus is costly, and if you're taking mroe than a couple you may need something bigger than a mini-bus when you consider all the kit. Perhaps fencers wishing to use a mini-bus could pay a contribution towards it (if you're a school, it's always worth pestering for a mini-bus, just mention things like parents giving lifts to their ofspring's friends, and the potential insurance/CRB problems, and hopefully they'll be willing to help). Advise plenty of refreshments to be brung. Enjoy.

cainey
-30th August 2006, 00:12
1. passion

cainey