Many thanks to David Dunsford for putting together this blog:
It was always my intention when we made the big move from London to Yorkshire to open a judo club as we knew there wasn’t a BJA club in the area.
We were given guidance and help by Dermot Heslop, BJA National Development Officer, who pointed us in the right direction.
We went about asking around and doing our homework by getting involved in the local community and seeing what nights other events and sports were on including Scouts, Cubs and of course the two main sports in Yorkshire – cricket and rugby!
We invested in advertising and posters, giving free taster sessions to the local clubs and Scouts in the area and leafleted the local schools.
The initial layout was quite expensive, and we took a chance advertising in a local magazine and doing loads of foot work. We had faith in the local Knaresborough community and they didn’t disappoint us.
They had never seen or had judo in the area for more than 30 years and they were curious and keen to learn this dynamic Olympic sport.
We were lucky to have Dermot, who put us in touch with York Ri Judo Club. They loaned us some suits and equipment and we agreed to cover the cost of collecting mats and help move them to our venue in King James School in Knaresborough.
In London, I was on the area committee helping with the coaching and refereeing side of things so was keen to get involved in the Yorkshire and Humberside area.
The club was literally brand new, all red belts apart from two players Nancy and Joseph Dunsford (our children). We started two groups under and over 8’s and within the first four weeks we quickly grew to 45 players once the word got out!
It got super busy and we were asked to set up a senior session and we now have around 10 seniors on that session, but hope increase those numbers.
Since opening in February 2017, we have had several themed nights having fun and celebrating with the youngsters including Easter Treats, Scary Halloween Party and The Christmas Judo Championship.
The future for Knaresborough looks very bright. The support and help from the Members and the BJA has made it easier but you need to work hard and play hard.