The past year has been very tough for everyone, and that was no different in the badminton world.
For badminton players up and down, 2020 has been a frustrating time, with Covid-19 rules and a national lockdown preventing clubs, coaches and players from playing the game they love.
To understand that, we’ve taken steps over the past 14 months to support the community and build to get back into play, and we continue to do so as we move forward and hopefully emerge from the pandemic.
It feels like a long time ago now but in April 2020, when the first national shutdown was just beginning, we introduced our BE At Home campaign.
This was an interactive campaign designed to help keep our clubs, members and coaches busy throughout the initial lockdown – these premium tips for home workouts, social acquisitions and fun games.
A month later, we reached out to over 2,500 people from our clubs and coaches, primarily through calls to make sure they were okay and asking how we could support them during these trying times.
We know how difficult the past year has been for our clubs and coaches financially as well, so we launched the Hardship Fund in July 2020 to help clubs and members get back on the field.
The work we did through the planning of our facilities also enabled us to determine which places were open or closed at the time and the impact on the clubs.
This has allowed us to provide proactive support to clubs that need to find new venues.
During the summer of 2020 we also implemented a discount or donation option for clubs and club members for the 2020/21 season, where they can choose to withdraw the full price or receive a 25% discount, with a three-month extension for direct members also offered.
During the second shutdown during the winter months from December 2020 through March 2021, we held over 50 joint membership creation sessions with over 200 members, including leagues, clubs, coaches and youth leaders, as the badminton community created their new membership plan.
Putting members at the heart of the plan, and to ensure all clubs have to worry about returning to the stadiums next year, this has been brought back to 2022/2023.
As the months went by, the outlook got brighter and in March we developed the Badminton Channel in England.
For the first time we were able to broadcast every stadium from every day of the Yonex All England Championship, which was made available free of charge to any renewed member for the 2020/2021 season.
In order to understand the challenges facing clubs as we emerge from the pandemic, and in order to ensure we do so in a stronger position as a sport, we launched the Let’s Talk Badminton Consultation during the months of April and May.
Now, with the sun shining and hopefully the end of restrictions is near, we want to help bring clubs and players to the stadiums this summer.
We have extended affiliation to any club renewed for this season for free to cover the next season, so it will now expire on October 31, 2022.
We have also reinstated affiliation for any club that joined the 2019/20 season for free, not renewed for this year, until October 31, 2021, and made club affiliation free for any new clubs joining this summer, expiring on the same date.
In order to further support members, we have also extended any club members who joined this season for free, so they will now expire on 31 October 2022 while we have brought back any individual club members who were registered last season and not renewed. For this year, free until October 31, 2021.
To encourage more people to get involved, we are allowing clubs to register any additional players over the summer for a free Badminton England membership which will expire on October 31, 2021.
Any club member, reassigned or joining a new membership over the summer, will need to renew as usual in September for the next season, with membership prices frozen for the third year in a row.
We’ve also offered Live members a four-month extension to make up for lost time.
The feedback on the Return to Play offer from Membership has been really positive and we hope it helps more people get back on the field.