September was a particularly exciting month for those at Bec Korfball, after their sport received record funding from Sport England and government guidance enabled a return to playing indoors.
As part of Sport England’s “Return to Play Fund”, brought in to help sports which had been adversely impacted by pandemic restrictions, England Korfball received a record £84,000 in funding, of which £3,399 will be seen in Tooting at Bec Korfball.
A statement on the England Korfball website read: “Thanks to Sport England RTP Small Grant awards, korfball clubs have received record investment in excess of £84,000. These grants will provide much needed support for clubs to resume playing.”
Bec Korfball club captain, Davesh Patel said: “We’ve seen a drop in terms of our membership and when that happens, either you increase the membership cost because you have fewer people therefore less money coming in to cover the costs as it increases the cost per person.
“But what the funding has allowed us to do is to freeze the membership costs that we’ve had for the last few years to entice our members that we do have coming back to keep them coming back. It has allowed that to stay the same.”
The money has also allowed for them to attempt to grow membership through greater advertising and purchase new equipment to replace older items.
Patel believes that the investment is already achieving tangible results.
He added: “Fortunately, we have seen a fair few numbers increase, more so in the last three, four weeks when we’ve actually gone back indoors.
“But obviously a big driver to getting new graduates coming to the club, particularly within London, is the cost, so that was a big factor. It’s been a whole thing for us being able to not increase our costs.”
This adds to what has been a very encouraging month for the world’s only exclusively mixed-sex sport, with another step towards normality taken as government guidelines permitted them to return to playing indoors after an 18-month absence.
Korfball can also be played outside, and so clubs have resorted to continuing play outdoors during the pandemic.
However, during the winter months it is played indoors, and this change allows for korfball clubs to continue operations year-round.
Patel said: “To be finally back in these four walls, get back to doing some actual proper korfball with no modified rules, it’s like yep this is now getting back to what we want.”
The club announced the return on Twitter:
Now that they are back, Bec are setting their aims high for the upcoming season.
Having won European club korfball’s second biggest honour, the Europa Shield, a record four-times, they have qualified for this year’s Europa Cup and hope to end the dominance over that trophy of sides from Belgium and the Netherlands and become the first English club to ever win it.
If you are wanting to get involved with korfball, Bec have sessions for all ages and abilities, playing at Graveney School in Tooting and to get in contact visit https://www.beckorfball.co.uk/
Featured image: Bec at the Europa Shield, Germany, credit: Marco Spelten