As the full impact of the measures taken by government to control the spread of the Covid19 virus start to take effect, we wanted to reassure instructors and members that it’s business as usual at BT head office and we are here to advise and support clubs where we can.
Our membership services department is open as normal to receive and process new / renewal memberships, DBS applications and instructor indemnity forms.
And our development, safeguarding and finance staff are all fielding email & telephone enquiries as usual. Our aim is to maintain this service throughout this unprecedented period.
Safeguarding queries should go direct to mobile number 07568 503791 or email email@example.com
What’s the current situation regarding clubs?
It is the responsibility of the leadership of each club to make the appropriate decision on whether to suspend classes, based on the most recent government advice. As of 19th March 2020 there is a greater push for social distancing following the announcement of school closures.
Currently the government hasn’t specifically restricted sports clubs and other similar activities. It is however recommending that people consider social distancing, especially for at risk groups wherever possible.
Everyone’s situation and risk levels are obviously different, and people will do what they feel is reasonable for them and their families.
Clubs should always act in the best interests of their members, respecting people’s decisions, should they not wish to attend classes, and under no circumstances attempt to penalise members if they make that choice during this unprecedented period.
What can I do as a member to support my club during this difficult time?
Taekwondo clubs are at the heart of many of our communities and social lives. Our members value deeply, the health benefits, confidence building and life skills they teach, and it would devastate a lot of people if their local club disappeared.
Members shouldn’t just assume that their clubs will still be there, if this situation goes on for an extended period …………………..Clubs rely on their members to survive
If / when classes are suspended, clubs will still have rents and fees to pay, not to mention living costs to cover for many of our full-time instructors who give their working lives and passion to Taekwondo.
We implore members to think really hard about how they can support their clubs through this.
Simply maintaining the payment of monthly subscriptions to your club could be the biggest and most important thing you can do as a member, to make sure your club is still there when we get back to normal.
So, we are asking members to pull together, stay strong and positive, as our Martial Arts ethos teaches us, and support your club where you can – they will appreciate it!
What can club’s and instructors do if they decide to suspend classes?
Number 1 – Keep in regular contact with your members!
There are several positive steps clubs can take to address this once in a lifetime challenge and keeping in touch with your members is paramount.
If you have suspended physical classes, have you thought about other creative ways to keep operating, such as:
- Recording session videos that you distribute weekly or twice weekly, using a video sharing platform like You Tube or similar.
- Providing individualised weekly training plans for solo or family training that members can do as they self-isolate
- Some kind of live Skype or Facebook live group training sessions
- Regular telephone surgery slots with each of your members for talking things through, goal setting, training programme planning etc
- Members could send in their Taekwondo training videos to you? – which instructors can analyse, give feedback on.
Think “out of the box” at different ways you can provide a service to your members. Remember – life shouldn’t stop – we must find ways to carry on with daily life!
People will be looking for things to help stay active, how to remain physically fit and mentally strong. (Things like depression and loneliness may become issues for some people, so social interaction is important to maintain, even if it is online and via calls)
Taekwondo can help with this in many different ways other than attending a class in person!
What can club’s with premises and overheads do if they decide to suspend classes?
For clubs with full time / part time centres and full-time instructors, there are a range of things you could consider, to get through this unprecedented challenge:
- Keep your members informed about your situation and ask them to support your service!
- Provide your customers (members) with ongoing Taekwondo training content and create value
(Can you work together with other clubs and instructors to provide lone training and engagement content on an ongoing basis??…..a problem shared is a problem halved etc)
- Speak to your landlord and ask for a rent reduction or deferred rent arrangement for a few months
- If you are paying a mortgage, have you thought about contacting the bank to discuss a different mortgage payment arrangement?
- Contact your local council and investigate a business rates holiday (that the government has been talking about in the last few days)
- Look at your business fixed costs and living costs and work out a two / three-month plan as a worst-case scenario
- If you employ staff, put a short and medium term plan in place for salaries during the period that the club is closed – be open with your support team about what might happen in 1 week, 1 month, 3 months etc if this situation continues longer than expected so they can plan too.
- Seek government help for business support and grants https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses
- Think about other streams of income you might be able to access or generate in the short term
If you rent halls, sport centres or similar facilities on a day by day basis:
- Keep in close communication with centre managers and caretakers to understand their buildings policies, plans if they close and what financial impacts there are on your bookings
- Discuss a hire free period – (these places won’t want to see clubs fold and will want you to start up again once this is all over – so don’t underestimate that you have a strong negotiating position to ask for hire free periods during closure and return)
Above all, remember to bring your members with you on this journey, they are the key to getting you and your club through this………. and being stronger at the end of it!
What can clubs do if they decide to remain open?
British Taekwondo has taken the decision to suspend all our NGB Taekwondo activity for an indefinite period due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Our decision follows careful analysis of the advice issued by the UK Government and regular BT board level discussions to assess the full range of information. It has been made in the interests of the health and safety of our staff, members, their friends and families and the wider community.
Government advice recommends this should extend to clubs’ practices.
We cannot enforce this, and it is the responsibility of each individual club owner to make the appropriate decision for their circumstances, until such time that the government places an outright ban on this activity or venues decide to close.
If clubs do decide to continue operating, – there are a range of common-sense precautions that they could take based on the advice coming from official public health sources such as:
- Do not shake hands, just bow
- Maintain at least one metre distance between everyone in class
- Avoid contact activities such as sparring / activity in pairs
- Ensure members wash their hands upon entering the venue and leaving the venue
- Ask parents and carers to drop off and pick up their children from the entrance
- Wipe down door handles and high hand fall area’s in the venue after each session
- Deep clean the training venue every day after use
- Sterilise all training equipment after use
- Implement a small class size protocol
- Restrict all elderly people from interacting with the club
- Restrict anyone with underlying health conditions from taking part in training sessions or even coming into the club
- Advise members who live with elderly people or people with health conditions to refrain from training
We have received a number of questions regarding insurance and what it would cover – so here’s a reminder:
Member to member insurance only covers bodily injuries connected to participating in Taekwondo activity within a registered British Taekwondo club.
Instructor indemnity and member insurances do not cover anyone contracting Coronavirus or other transmittable illnesses through attending a delivered session.
FINALLY – KEEP CHECKING GOVERNMENT ADVICE!
At all times – follow the government and NHS advice and ask members and their family to isolate if they see any symptoms of the virus.
This is a rapidly changing situation that is affecting everyone.
Please keep checking the very latest advice coming from government and public health statements and always consider what is in best interests of everyone’s personal health.
The Taekwondo family will get through this – together.