We know that for many clubs, 2020 and the restrictions imposed by Covid-19 caused catastrophic damage to memberships and engagement. BMABA have always championed the importance of grass roots martial arts participation and we’re determined to do as much as we can in 2021 to help ease martial arts club back into some form of normality, as and when restrictions lift.
What are we going to do to help?
Some Government grants were made available to businesses throughout lockdown which will have assisted some of our larger clubs with grants and furlough, but we know not enough small and medium, unincorporated clubs have received any help. It’s those clubs we’re primarily targeting.
Our plan is to provide the following support packages to aid in grass roots martial arts recovery;
For Clubs & Instructors Not Currently BMABA Members
We want to open the door for access to professional, credible insurances and governance to help as many clubs return to training safely. With this in mind, we’re going to be offering the following support to clubs and instructors who are currently NOT BMABA members;
We will be offering the option of either 3 months completely free instructor Public Liability insurance at £2,000,000, combined with £1,000,000 professional indemnity cover and £250,000 abuse extension cover combined with BMABA instructor membership
We will provide £40 of free student Public Liability insurance (‘member to member’) cover combined with student memberships
We will also put together an emergency fund for clubs most severely affected. This will be reserved to applications from grappling arts and those who inherently rely on close contact for survival, as well as not for profits that help societies most vulnerable. This discretionary fund will aim to cover more than just the above offering, providing a longer term and more comprehensive package of support for clubs likely to fail in the next 6 months without immediate intervention.
For those requiring larger multi-instructor provisions or bulk registrations (i.e: 2 instructors and 100 students etc) we will provide additional support and financial relief to drive down unit costing as much as possible, with the option of interest free monthly payments and initial payment holidays
It’s our hope this support will help clubs confidently get back to the dojo – in line with Government guidance and without the need to cut corners and open sooner than they should – with some cashflow relief. There will be absolutely no commitment to remain a BMABA member after the initial membership period ends if instructors don’t wish to, but for those who do we’ll offer a discounted onward period of membership to ensure the remaining 9 months are as affordable as possible.
For Clubs & Instructors Who Are Currently BMABA Members
To all of you who have shown us support and loyalty during the pandemic, we want to do our bit to say thank you and provide additional support to help you get back to the mats. This support is available for anyone who has renewed their membership or joined us as a paying member for the first time on or after 1st April 2020 through to this fund going live – including any new clubs that join us as paid members in between this announcement and the recovery scheme launching.
We will be offering at renewal either a 4 month free of charge extension to any memberships, including any insurance in place, for lead instructors OR we’ll provide a £50 renewal discount if you wish to renew on any of our membership (with or without insurance) plans for the year ahead
We will provide £55 of free student Public Liability insurance (‘member to member’) cover combined with student memberships
You will also have preferential access to our emergency fund for clubs most severely affected over the past year. This will be reserved to applications from grappling arts and those who inherently rely on close contact for survival, as well as not for profits that help societies most vulnerable. We will also accept discretionary applications from those who have been catastrophically impacted by restrictions, even if you’re not from a grappling background.
For our larger clubs and those with multiple staff (i.e: clubs with more than 2 instructors or more than 50 students) we’ll be providing a range of subsidies to help with business continuity. This will be discussed on a case by case basis to help ensure we’re offering the best possible help for your club but could include, for example, free of charge 4 month extensions for entire instructor and/or student bases or substantially discounted renewals.
We want to do our bit to give back to the clubs who have supported us through 2020. We also believe we have a moral obligation to continue providing the best possible support to grass roots clubs. We believe the support hasn’t come nearly fast enough or in enough bulk from Sport England to help unincorporated and smaller clubs remain afloat. Whilst our pockets are far from bottomless, we’ll do our bit to try and bridge this crucial period of return and we believe in giving back more to our existing members to say thank you for helping us through 2020.
Why are we doing this?
We know the most crucial period throughout the entire pandemic is just around the corner for UK martial arts clubs. The return to training – most likely under strict COVID restrictions compounded by many clubs having a severe lack of savings given the time elapsed since regular classes dropped off – is going to be tricky at best.
We firmly believe if clubs can safely negotiate the initial three months in which classes are anticipated to – and then do – return, then there is a path to organic recovery for just about every club and discipline.
We’re hoping that a short, acute financial support package like this will enable clubs who need support in the short term the opportunity they deserve to get back to training and to rebuild their finances before costs become payable.
When does the fund open, how long will it run for and how do I apply?
We’re going to hold back formally opening the fund until we can see an anticipated return date. This is to prevent clubs leaning on the support too soon and finding it has expired before classes can properly get back to some form of normality. At present, we’re working to a rough April period for martial arts returning. If this continues to be the ‘best guess’ as February progresses, we’ll plan to start making support available for March 1st so clubs can use it to anticipate and plan their return, as well as actually during their first couple of months of classes.
We will set up an application process for new applicants here at bmaba.org.uk/clubs and this will be very clearly signposted throughout the website, including in the application section. For existing members, we’ll heavily publicise the fund and will make a simple, fast application process available within MyBMABA.
We don’t yet know how long the fund will be needed, or how long we will be able to shoulder the financial burden. BMABA has been providing subsidised insurances and memberships for the best part of a year now to aid in keeping clubs afloat, and we’re not funded by any third parties so our support is not without limit. We will, however, aim to plug the initial return to the mats period. Depending on uptake, availability and market conditions the current projection is to run the scheme from March 1st to May 1st to ensure everyone working to return to training can access some form of help.
For existing members, whilst the application process for support will likely close in May they will of course be able to ‘sit on’ any discounts, vouchers or funds for their renewals – even if this falls into 2022. This means clubs can apply for a renewal discount now, for example, and it will remain valid through to their expiry – even if that falls into 2022.
We emphatically believe that grass roots martial arts is one of the single most important recreational opportunities for the UK. Children and adults of all backgrounds and communities get fit, learn self discipline, grow their confidence and learn self defence through martial arts practice. Unfortunately we don’t believe support from official sources has been anywhere near good enough throughout the pandemic. If official help doesn’t arrive we fear many clubs will be unable to reopen at all or, perhaps worse still, will re-open without the necessary insurances and professional standards in place owing to financial restraints.
We tell the martial arts community that we’re a safe set of hands for their club and if we can’t come through now – we’re not up to the mark.
As our association’s slogan goes; “To High Places By Narrow Roads”
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We’re a professional association, not a one-man band.
We know there are hundreds of smaller multi-style associations in the UK. There’s nothing wrong with that – it can be great for variety. Unfortunately it sometimes leads to poor customer service or unsafe, unprofessional services – especially if the organisation is claiming to be very large.
We have three locations – Manchester, London and West Sussex. Our HQ has over 1,400sqft of dedicated, bespoke office space for our team of staff and volunteers.
Founded in 2012 by the Multi-Award Winning Social Entrepreneur & Life-Long Martial Artist
Frustrated by a lack of affordable, professional alternatives to the associations Giovanni Soffietto had dealt with when participating and then teaching Thai Boxing and Karate, BMABA was founded.
Focused on professional standards and ethics rather than belts and titles, BMABA boasts the pedigree of a life-long martial arts expert come award winning social entrepreneur as it’s Chief Executive Officer. It’s fair to say we’re well qualified and backed by an industry giant.
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You won't find another UK martial arts association that can offer so much to their members.
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Switching To Us
We know there’s a lot to think about, and we can help.
We have absolutely no interest in enticing you to switch to BMABA if we’re not the right fit. We know that won’t last and isn’t good for you or us. Instead, we can offer a confidential switching process to help you price up whether or not it’s worth while, whilst also getting answers to any questions you might have.