Welsh Fencing WSA Membership Testimonial

Director of Welsh Fencing, Mark Ridsdale, has revealed there was no real debate in signing up with the Welsh Sports Association after finding out about the organisation and its mission.

Mark Ridsdale, Director of Welsh Fencing

Speaking to the WSA, Mark said:

We’ve been members for a good few years now, and it started when I was having conversations with the WSA about what the whole proposition was and just what the organisation was all about.  

From that moment it just sort of made sense to be connected to the WSA; plus, the pricing was crazy cheap, so why would you not do that?! 

Mark went on to specify the benefits of being a WSA member:

In terms of the resources available, it made sense to us to sign up for membership both internally, but also to be able to roll that support out to our own clubs should they want to make use of it. I suspect our members using those resources may be a rarity, but it’s important to have that option there – in any case, we’ve certainly used them, and will continue to use them! 

We take advantage of the policy document templating because, obviously, we are a National Governing Body; we have to have policies for most things. We’ve got most of them in place but, if we’re ever short of anything, the WSA is a great place to go and have a look because it’s related to the sports sector.  

We were also eventually able to make use of the DBS checking service through Vibrant Nation; originally, we couldn’t use it because we sit under British Fencing, but we ended up connecting them to the WSA, who sold them their DBS service! So we are now using it, which has worked well because it’s really improved upon our previous manual, resource-intensive, man-managed system.  

According to Mark, the WSA was crucial for Welsh sport during the Pandemic:

One of the main benefits we’ve seen has, of course, been through the COVID-19 Pandemic. It was really helpful to have the WSA bring the whole sector together; we were incorporated with and communicating with all the other sports in Wales, whether small or large, giving just one view and one voice. 

It meant not everybody had to lobby the Government and we had consistency. It was good to have that interpretation; we had a number of questions from our own members about what all the updates meant, so we were able to say, ‘this is the interpretation, as provided by the WSA, who are the collective voice across Welsh sport’. 

Mark continued to summarise what WSA membership has done for Welsh Fencing:

It’s just the small things that make WSA membership so valuable – having the services at our fingertips should we need them. I know there are services that we haven’t ever needed to use, but it’s just useful and reassuring to know that, if required, we can utilise the WSA’s support at any time. 

For Welsh Fencing, being members has meant that we have access to a broad portfolio of resources that we wouldn’t necessarily have access to individually; it’s meant that we’ve been part of a collective voice back to Welsh Government; and it gives us a useful partner with whom we can talk about any requirements we may have.  

Everybody at WSA is always available, accessible, flexible and friendly, and it works really well. Whatever we think we might need, we can go and talk about it with them; we’re a fairly small sport, so it’s nice to have that resource out there to not feel so lonely. 

Membership means we’re not sat on our own on a little island; we’ve got friends out there! I see no reason why we’d ever split away from it, no reason at all. 

To find out more about the benefits of WSA membership, click here.

To find out how to become a member, click here.

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