Winter may well be on its way, but there were no Monday Blues for members of Irfon Judo club this week. 

From Monday 12th October judo sessions in Builth Wells Sports Centre were able to resume for children aged 9- 10 year old following Irfon Judo Club receiving support from the Be Active Wales fund.

The £4million of funding has been made possible through money Sport Wales receives from Welsh Government and the National Lottery to provide financial support to help prepare clubs and community organisations or groups to restart, respond to, or grow participation, in direct response to Covid-19 and protect clubs and community organisations or groups that are at immediate financial risk and need support. As sessions restarted this week at the , Sensei Richard Jones, shares his experience of the application process… 

How easy was it to apply?

RJ: The application process was fairly straightforward, after reading through all the help and guidance available on line you can apply and complete an application form.

What support can you apply for?

RJ: PPE equipment (face masks, gloves, aprons) and cleaning disinfectant products  to enable us to deep clean the Judo Mats before we started our Club Sessions. To maintain the cleaning process in between each session, forehead thermometer, hand santiser, prepare for restarting by covering the cost of meeting government and NGB guidelines and extra costs incurred.  The extra cost of the Sports Centre hire as the Club is having to have a lot more mat space from one badminton court size to three courts at the Sports Centre to comply with National Body Guidelines, as it is the only way members can get back to training and being on the Judo Mat and comply to all the guidelines and social distancing.  Extra equipment.

Did you need help with the application process?

RJ: We liaised and worked with our local authority Powys County Council - Sport Powys Team, they were able to help us get our club back up and running safely.

How can other clubs apply?

RJ: Go on line to the Sports Council For Wales web site and search for BeActiveWales funding.  Also application information is available on you the WJA website.  Local authority Sport Development Unit have also been publishing information on where you can apply.  The Welsh Sports Association web site have a lot or useful areas of information and courses running to help you with the understanding and what is expected of you to do in order to comply with all the regulations.

What does reopening your club entail/look like?

RJ: To re-open you club it takes quite a bit of work - first undertaking the online courses for you to become aware and compliant with what is expected of you to know how to keep yourself and other people safe and compliant with Covid 19 regulations.  Appoint a Covid 19 officer for your Club, this is a national body guideline.  The mat layout is totally different to allow each young person their 3m x 3m and a safe area in between each mat, which allows you the correct distance from the young people.  The extra work in laying more mats, and all the extra cleaning in between sessions of the mats.  Our sessions are now undertaken in the whole of the Sports Centre main hall, as where before we had just one badminton court size, you have to maintain and keep your young people engaged, so ultimately it is a more challenging session for them and to Coach in this way as they are unable to practice any contact Judo with one another. Currently our mat layout caters for 12 players per session and working towards 14 players per session.  We have lost players, due to Covid-19, as parents have informed us they won't be coming back to train, or they just lost the interest in the sport due to the lengthy break from the Sport.

The reopening of judo clubs across Wales is a welcome sight for judoka across the country. We remind all members to continue following Welsh Government guidance for their local area. Our Return To Judo framework, along with the latest Covid-19 guidance can be found here.

More information and guidance notes to help you complete the application form for the Be Active Wales Fund can be found here.

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