British Fencing Club of the Year
– Salle Ossian Fencing Club –
Salle Ossian Fencing Club is very proud to have been recognised as Best Fencing Club of the Year by our national governing body, British Fencing.
Established in 2015, Salle Ossian Fencing Club is a Perth based fencing club founded with the principle aim of promoting and providing facilities to support the sport of fencing throughout Scotland. A family focussed, community based club, Salle Ossian has had a very successful year both in terms of increasing participation throughout the local area and also in terms of on-piste competitive success.
One of the fundamental goals of the club is to provide access and opportunity for new fencers to learn how to fence, together with a pathway which will allow fencers to grow and improve their level of performance. With this goal in mind, we undertake partnership programs with Perth and Kinross Sports Development, Active Schools, Live Active and St Andrews University to promote the sport in schools and universities across Scotland. We operate on a hub and spoke model, with regular classes running in a number of schools and any interested fencers being encouraged to come along to the Salle, which is open for training four nights a week during term time. We also run training camps and taster sessions in all of the school holidays to further provide opportunity for development and improvement of fencing skills.
Another keystone of the club strategy is the Salle Ossian Awards Scheme. This charitable scheme is designed to reduce any barriers to and to increase opportunity for fencers who hope to excel in their sport. In return for a commitment from the fencer to a high volume of training and a contribution towards the charitable aims of the club, the awardee is given priority access to lessons, coaching support at competitions, access to strength and conditioning resources and financial support towards the cost of travel for competitions. This last point in particular is a key enabler – allowing fencers to progress and compete in situations where it may have otherwise been financially onerous for them.
We have an active program of coach development. Our club has taken the lead in coach education in Scotland and is now the de-facto centre of excellence for coach development in Scotland. We provide a pathway for talented young fencers to train full-time by providing employment as coaches in our schools programme. We also support coach development through a school day release / apprenticeship scheme – providing work experience and coaching qualifications for young fencers. The effort that we put into coach development feeds back in a virtuous cycle – we have more coaches to allow us to expand our schools program which drives expansion of the club itself.
The linear nature of the scheme and programs we have set up are all about producing top quality competitive fencers. The pathway we have established leads from talent identification in the schools, transitions through development classes in the club and leads to the opportunity to excel with the help of the awards scheme. The success of this strategy is evident in the competitive results from club fencers, highlights of which include –
•Currently Scottish, British and Commonwealth Champions
•British U23 Individual Champion
•British Senior Team Champions
•Multiple Senior World Cup participants
•Salle Ossian fencers took two of the top three places in a recent FIE senior satellite event.
•Three of the top five UK senior women fencers are Salle Ossian members
•Two British Youth Champions in 2016
•Club fencers have won Gold, Silver and Bronze at numerous open events throughout the UK, at the Scottish Youth Development Series, the Scottish School Championship and the Scottish Age Group Championship
Season 2016/17 has been a fantastic season for Salle Ossian, both in terms of the charitable aims of the club and in terms of the competitive results. Some of the milestones we have reached this year include –
•Providing opportunity for more that 500 children to try fencing for the first time, with the support and encouragement of our experienced coaching team.
•A massive five fold increase in participation in our school classes. We now have over 150 children fencing in the seven schools which are participating in our programme.
•Our membership numbers have doubled this year as a result of and a testament to the success of our hub and spoke model.
•This huge increase in participation is now necessitating the need to expand the dedicated fencing facility which was only opened in 2015. We’re literally bursting at the seams.
•An increase in our coaching capacity to three full-time coaches supported by a number of the other senior members / awardees who are making great progress along the coaching pathway
•Local recognition of the work that the club is doing in terms of increased coverage in the local media
•Winning the Perth & Kinross Sports Club of the Year for the second time in three years. Again, a fantastic validation of the club ethos.
•The Salle Ossian Awards scheme has been so successful that it is now running at capacity, providing high performance coaching, support and opportunity to 12 promising young fencers.
For all the reasons above, Salle Ossian Fencing Club was nominated for and was awarded British Fencing Club of the Year.