Fencing North East wins Prime Minister’s Big Society Award!

Fencing North East has been recognised by Prime Minister David Cameron with a Big Society Award!  This publicly nominiated award is for UK organisations who focus upon three specific areas:

Outstanding Contribution to Community

- People, projects and organisations that enable communities to drive change themselves

- Projects and organisations that allow the community to identify solutions

- People, projects and organisations that inspire others to contribute to their community

Improving Lives and Society through Innovation, Collaboration and New Partnerships

- People and organisations taking new approaches to public services

- Successful collaboration and partnerships between public, private and voluntary sector -

working together to benefit communities

Engaging in Social Action

- People, projects and organisations taking action in their community

- Working together for social change (e.g. through creating groups, campaigns, movements)

- Generosity of time, money, skills and other resources – in support of social action

Since 2008, Fencing North East partnership with the universities of Durham and Northumbria, has built a programme for developing grass roots and training opportunities for local talent.  It was recognised that 40 regular volunteers give over 200 hours of their time each year to support fencing!




BBC Look North Evening new report




These are some of the reasons why Prime Minister David Cameron selected Fencing North East for this award!

  • introduced 2,500 under 16s in the North East to fencing through working with schools, scouts, colleges and local authorities, specifically targeting young people from less well off areas
  • increased participation in wheelchair fencing with 12 regular wheelchair fencers through the region
  • works with clubs in the region to offer training and development for coaches, fencers, volunteers and officials
  • created the first ever Regional Development Officer for fencing to introduce over 5000 people to fencing and train 100 coaches and over 50 volunteers.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

Fencing North East has had a real impact across the North East, inspiring young people to take up a new sport and helping them gain confidence, skills and even qualifications. "I’m delighted to be recognising the achievements of everyone who volunteers, coaches and takes part with this Big Society Award."

Marie Matheson, Chair, Fencing North East, said: "I'm very proud of my involvement with Fencing North East, and have found working with all of our volunteers and participants inspirational on so many levels. I'm delighted that the hard work and creativity of our volunteers has been recognised with a Big Society Award from the Prime Minister".

Fencing North East’s ‘Street Swords’ project created in 2011 was particulaly highlighted in press statements as an outstanding initiative that specifically targets disengaged young people aged 8 and over from deprived areas and provides bursaries to ensure cost does not prevent young people from taking part.

British Fencing's Chairman David Teasdale said  "Very, very well done to all.  Getting this award is a terrific achievement, but it's well deserved for this project. "

President of England Fencing, Ray Stafford said "I’m absolutely delighted for you and the Fencing North East Team. Please pass on my congratulations, both personally and on behalf of the England Fencing board."

Link to 10 Downing Street press release

 Links to local press:

Darlington and Stockton Times  

The Northern Echo


Sky News - Tyne and Wear



Skem News









3 minute read

August 23, 2013