Norwich Premier Judo Club first to re-open in Eastern Area

On 1st September Norwich Premier Judo Club re-opened its doors after many months of preparation and fundraising.

The club closed in March following the countrywide lockdown imposed by the Government but that didn’t stop the club preparing for it’s return in the near future. They immediately stripped the club down and carried out a complete deep-clean across the facility – a task in which all of it’s club members contributed towards and the club closed at a good point of comradeship and team work.

A period of fundraising was then carried out led by Club Chairman Nigel Thompson and supported by BJA staff member Dave Horton-Jones as they successfully obtained funds from Sport England’s Small Business grant and local sponsorship. During this time the club kept in contact with its members via email, Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook, as they conducted virtual gradings and held several online workouts to keep their members engaged.

The successful fundraising efforts of the Committee and their members enabled the club to install air conditioning throughout the club, a new boiler, showers, improved changing rooms, LED lighting and many other improvements including the construction of a small 2nd mat area. It was a real team effort from the club but special mention to Mark Conway and David Araniseli.

British Judo’s Safe Return to Judo documents gave greater clarity on how to return safely to judo so following the guidelines, the club removed their spectator area and created extra matting for more judoka to practice judo. COVID medals were presented to the first players to return and also well earned grading certificates and belts presented – at a social distance of course!

3 weeks after re-opening, the club has gone from strength to strength with three training sessions a week currently being run using a variety of training methods to make solo judo challenging, fun and progressive. The club is now vastly improved and has a beginners course starting in October.

BJA Head of Grading Development Dave Horton-Jones one of the club coaches stated, “The temporary closure enabled the club to refocus and create an improved strategy to move forward.

The club has now changed to online subs collection, with have a great relationship with our stakeholders that rent the dojo and the ability to offer its facilities to other groups. Lapsed coaches have regained their qualifications during lockdown and the club now has the capacity to vastly improve and offer a better service to the local community”.