September 11, 2020

Back to the school range for King’s Lynn Bowmen

Despite lockdown easing, some clubs are still struggling to return to the range where restrictions set by the landowner have not yet changed.

Melissa Reeve, Club Secretary of King's Lynn Bowmen in Norfolk, experienced just these issues at their hired school premises a few months ago. She said: "We hire a school field and sports hall for our archery and have a container on the school site to store our equipment. We were notified that the school would not be allowing anyone on site until 2021 apart from staff and pupils, meaning we had no opportunity to shoot or to retrieve our equipment.”

After contacting the school's academy trust, sending them the support pack that Archery GB put together for clubs using school facilities including the risk assessment, range layout, AGB liability insurance and safety procedure documents, etc., the club was given permission to visit the container to check its contents once the school had closed for the summer, though were still unable to shoot at that time.

The Bowmen decided to look for a new temporary home, appealing to members to brainstorm and suggest possible solutions. This resulted in an offer of the use of a field at a nearby country estate for a few weeks. Melissa continued: "In the midst of this we were pleasantly surprised by an email from the school confirming that they were reconsidering our position. They offered us access to the site during our regular shooting slots. We had to sign an updated terms and conditions document and a copy of their risk assessment documents to say that we would adhere at all times.

The club committee set up the necessary safety procedures and refined members' guidelines document. Before inviting members to the range, they did a dry run to ascertain potential problems and set up a WhatsApp group for returning members to enable track and trace data to be collected.

Melissa said: "We decided to cover the school's hire charges for the period up until the end of September by not charging our usual £3 shooting fee each session. This means we have more time to set up a shooting fee collection method, which doesn't involve paying cash on the day and can be implemented after renewals on 1 October.”

A regular posse of members have since returned to the school range, from 12 year-olds to mid-70s; barebow, recurve, longbow and compound bow types all represented. The club runs two 1.5 hour sessions on a Sunday morning, with ten slots in each, and a further session on Wednesday evenings which has been extended to 12 slots due to demand. For those members wishing to score and shoot rounds, the club has adopted the Three Dozen rounds detailed in Table 15 of the Rules of Shooting, having both 30m and 50m targets.

Melissa said: "We had an in-club competition and a poll on the Facebook page to find names for these rounds and in keeping with our name we chose ‘Long Lynn' and ‘Little Lynn' and had score sheets made. We have just published our first league table for everyone to see how they are getting on and their handicap standings.

"Our members are grateful to be able to shoot again and we've had a lot of positive feedback from them. Our guidelines were sent to all and they have been accepted, adopted and abided by at all times by all members. The booking system is working well and all track and trace data has been collected. We are still having regular online committee meetings to discuss any issues that have arisen, such as the purchasing of extra fence posts to provide more partitioning between lanes and more squirty bottles for the disinfectant.

"Our relations with the school are good and we have thanked them and provided feedback on how the first few sessions went. Thank you Archery GB for all the useful and helpful documents available on the website. They have been our main reference point to reassure us that we are going in the right direction and adhering to COVID safety guidelines.”

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