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Sandwich fencing club changes venue

A fencing club in Sandwich feared it would be without a venue after Baypoint asked them to leave.

Invicta Fencing Club has been running for seven years and for the last few years it has been based at Baypoint in Ramsgate Road.

At the end of last month, the club was given four weeks notice and asked to find another venue due to changes to the timetable of Baypoint’s fitness classes.

Members of the Invicta Fencing Club at Sandwich with their new equipment paid for with the help of a £10,000 grant
Members of the Invicta Fencing Club at Sandwich with their new equipment paid for with the help of a £10,000 grant

Kate Morwell-Neave, the club’s owner and coach, said: “I’m not happy about the way Baypoint treated us. Businesses should really give three months. They took advantage of the fact we weren’t given a contract.

“They wouldn’t accept me giving more money, using half of the hall, changing the day or time. It was get out, we don’t want you anymore. That’s not a slanderous statement , that’s the facts.”

Emma West, club secretary said: “Four weeks notice isn’t a great deal of time to find somewhere. People have been working hard and putting their hearts into it.”

'People have been working hard and putting their hearts into it.' - Club secretary, Emma West

That hard work has now paid off and the club will move to the leisure centre at Sandwich Technology School.

The fencing club was concerned as many venues would not be able to store their equipment but the school in Deal Road has been very helpful.

It meets every Wednesday from 6pm until 10pm and sessions at the school will now start on Wednesday, April 22.

Invicta Fencing Club has a large membership and cater for all ages and abilities, including providing wheelchair fencing equipment for disabled fencers.

Ms West said she was surprised to learn that Baypoint had its own disability sports programme as this had not been mentioned to them - and the two could have collaborated.

Baypoint's logo
Baypoint's logo

Sam Perkins, sport manager at Baypoint, said: “We were saddened to have to ask Invicta Fencing Club to leave.

“We have done a lot for the club, allowing them use of our facilities for a huge discount for two years and provided the club a location to store equipment for free. However, as a business we are growing rapidly (faster than ever) and must cater for those members."

“Four weeks’ notice is standard practice in this industry, however, we did in fact extend this to six weeks to accommodate their arrangements. I am confident as an established club they will find new accommodation, but they will be sorely missed and I am sad we could not house the long evenings they require. Baypoint wish Invicta Fencing Club all the best for the future.”

Three of the clubs members, Kate Morwell-Neave, Stuart Harris and Amber Cooper will be representing Kent in the Excalibur fencing competition later this month.

Mrs Morwell-Neave said she would like to give new members, Mark and Sarah Cornwell a massive thank you for all their help.

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