22nd March 2020 – Update
The government made an announcement on Friday the 20th, mandating that “all indoor leisure and sports facilities, including gyms” should close for the foreseeable future. Therefore, we are going to close the vanguard Centre for sports classes and entertainment / leisure activities – in other words, we are not going to be open for archery, blacksmithing, or HEMA bookings.
Any current bookings will need to be rescheduled, and our staff will be in touch with you about this as soon as possible. Our sincere apologies for having to be in touch about rescheduling, after making preparations to remain open, but we need to follow the government’s advice and rules.
When do we start back up?
Right now, I don’t know. Sorry!
What about blacksmithing? That’s not technically a sport!
Playing the “but technically, that doesn’t really apply…” game with the government only works if one can afford enough lawyers to win that argument. We are going to play it safe and treat all of our public classes as “public leisure activities for entertainment” so that we run in a legally safe and above-board fashion.
This may change as we get a better idea of what is or is not allowed.
Is private tuition still an option?
Not right now, because we are not quite sure just yet how the new rules will need to be implemented regarding employees, working arrangements, and wages. We are still bound by employment legislation, and so as a responsible employer, we need to make sure our staff are getting the best treatment and support from us and from the government.
This may change as we get a better idea of what is or is not allowed.
Can I just rent the hall for a while, to film some videos or do something by myself?
This does seem to be permissible at the moment. Please contact us if you would like to arrange this. We would like to facilitate this sort of thing, with the caveat that as above, we are still bound by employment legislation, and we need to make sure our staff receive the best treatment and support from us and from the government; so if we can staff the venue for you to rent the hall, we will do that, but if we cannot, then I’m afraid we will have to say no.
Is there anything I can do to practise HEMA at home?
We will try to put up some new resources (written and video) over the next few weeks, so that you have something to do from home.
Other than that, please take a look at my website KeithFarrell.net and look at some of the HEMA lesson videos I have there, or read your way through my written articles, of which the following about solo drills may be most helpful right now:
- Five solo practice drills: longsword
- Five solo practice drills: Scottish broadsword
- Meyer’s four openings drill (aka Meyer’s square)
You could also settle down with some fairly serious reading material on paper, purchased through our club’s online shop.
14th March 2020 – original policy
The current government advice about the coronavirus is that:
- sports clubs and venues should stay open and continue running activities with small class sizes, and to make sure everything is as clean as possible;
- you should feel able to continue attending sports clubs and activities without worrying too much UNLESS you are suffering symptoms (in which case stay at home), and make sure everything is as clean as possible.
Therefore, we are remaining open, and are putting as much effort into keeping the place as clean as we possibly can. Each of our activities will be undergoing some temporary changes in our efforts to make the Vanguard Centre as safe and healthy as possible during this time.
If you are feeling unwell and have any of the symptoms of coronavirus (high temperature, itchy eyes, coughing, shortness of breath), then please stay at home and begin self-isolation.
If you or someone you live with or see regularly is immuno-compromised in any way, or has underlying health problems (especially respiratory issues), or have regular contact with the elderly or other immuno-compromised or vulnerable people, please stay at home. We’ll miss you, but please don’t take the risk.
If you are feeling well and come to a session, and begin to develop symptoms during the session, please speak to an instructor or member of staff immediately.
When you arrive at the Centre, please wash your hands properly with hot water and soap, and follow any directions by staff members.
We are reducing the class size during archery sessions to keep it a bit more comfortable and to reduce the “press” of people in close proximity. It will now be even more important that you book your attendance through the website, to make sure that you have a place!
You will now only be able to book up to one week in advance, instead of two weeks. While of course we hope that no one will become ill after booking a slot, we hope to minimise disruptions by limiting how far in advance bookings can be made.
In each session, one or two targets will be reserved for regulars who have their own equipment. If you are using your own equipment, you may continue to remove your own arrows from the target (so that you are the only person touching your equipment).
In each session, the remaining targets will be for participants who need to borrow equipment. The instructor will be responsible for removing the arrows from the target (to reduce the chance of anyone transferring germs to the surface of the target and thereafter to other people’s hands or to the loaner equipment).
If you are borrowing equipment, please clean your hands before picking up any club equipment. Instructors may add “clean your hands” to the instructions given before allowing anyone to pick up a bow and advance to the shooting line.
We encourage regulars with your own equipment to bring it to each session, and to keep it clean in between sessions!
Participants who need to borrow loaner gear may borrow swords, but masks and gloves will no longer be provided due to the difficulty at this time in keeping them sufficiently sterile between sessions. Masks and gloves can be purchased from our shop if you would like to equip yourself to be able to continue training with contact.
Sessions will focus largely on non-contact exercises (since not everyone will have masks), although participants with their own protective equipment may be allowed to make contact.
You will need to wear gloves (of any sort, even cheap gardening gloves will be fine) when handling any club equipment (sweaty hands are going to make it rather difficult to keep club swords sufficiently clean).
Please see this as an opportunity to work on improving your form, structure, and other important parts of your practice. Non-contact sessions are still immensely valuable, and the instructors and advanced students have the skills they do because of the number of useful repetitions they have done over the years – solo drills and exercises to improve form and structure are an important part of this kind of training!
Please wear gloves as much as possible during the session while handling tools or equipment.
If you cough or sneeze (or breathe heavily!) onto a tool or piece of equipment, please do clean it. If you cannot see cleaning materials easily available, please ask the instructor to bring some over so that they are close by.
Cancellations and refunds
We hope that none of our clients become ill. However, if you have made a booking of any sort, or are coming close to the expiry date of a voucher or session pass, and you worry about being able to attend due to illness or self-isolation, please do speak with a member of staff. We will do what we can to help so that you do not lose your money on the booking or voucher.
Public Health England – what you need to know (updated daily):
Government publication – Stay at home guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection:
Scottish Field Archery Association: