I am writing this today with incredible happiness at being able to share the Vanguard Centre’s 5 year anniversary with all of our members and friends.
Five years ago, on Friday the 11th of September 2015, we received our keys to the venue and opened our doors for the very first time. A few hectic days later, after moving everything out of our storage unit and into the venue, and after countless hours of trying to impose some kind of order on the new place, we ran our very first session: a Thursday-evening longsword session!
A couple of days later, we welcomed Rob Runacres up to Glasgow, to teach a rapier seminar over the weekend.
Since then, we have run countless HEMA sessions, archery sessions, and weekend events. We have added on-going blacksmithing classes to the mix, for a few years we offered exercise and fitness classes (which could make a return, if there is interest!), and we ran seminars giving tuition on subjects such as how to teach martial arts. We even hosted lectures from visiting academics!
Behind the scenes, the Vanguard Centre is the headquarters of the Academy of Historical Arts. In the AHA, we have more than 300 members in affiliated clubs across the UK, and have represented the HEMA scene and martial arts in general to the UK government, and have made it easier for new clubs to get started, to develop, and to find appropriate insurances. We pride ourselves on having been an important (albeit quiet and behind-the-scenes) part of the UK community over the years – and we couldn’t have done it without having the Vanguard Centre as our headquarters, or without our staff working tirelessly to run activities and handle the inevitable paperwork and red tape.
As I’m pretty sure everyone has noticed, 2020 has been a difficult year. We have managed to stay afloat, and now that the Vanguard Centre has reopened after our 5 month lockdown, we are enjoying seeing our friends come back to play with us again. Hopefully we will see more and more of you over the next few months!
The lockdown was quite hard on us, and staying afloat has been costly. If you would like to send us a birthday present, even if you are not currently able to attend sessions, please do make a small donation through our website to help keep the lights on. It would be great if we can all work together and contribute towards keeping the venue open.
Under normal circumstances we would be throwing a party to celebrate our anniversary. That’s definitely not safe right now, but we will try to arrange an informal and social get-together at some point when it is safe and legal to do so again. Consider yourself invited! 🙂