Online lane-booking has become the norm since archers first ventured back to the range, with many archers enjoying its benefits. Guildford Archery Club's Chair describes their experiences as 'universally positive'.
Simon de Kretser, Chair of Guildford Archery Club, said: Â"The return to shooting for our club (GAC) following the relaxation of the government's Covid-19 lockdown has been a challenge for both the committee and the membership. The guidance provided by AGB for the initial phased return was comprehensive and extremely useful in helping us to prepare our plans.
Â"One of the key elements of the recommendation was to set up a booking system that would be available to all members and enable us to control the numbers of archers on the field at any one time and thereby ensure that social distancing could be maintained.
Â"We decided initially to only open the club on the weekends so that we could ensure that there was a non-shooting Field Captain and a Covid-19 supervisor to oversee safety in both shooting and Covid precautions, and divided the days into four two-hour slots with 10 lanes available in each.
Â"The club website is built on WordPress, so we initially looked for a suitable plug-in that would allow for the bookings, as well as considering options using shared Google or Excel docs or other commercially available platforms, as suggested in the AGB guidelines.
Â"We ultimately selected a platform called Sign-Up Genius that we had seen being used by another club nearby, which has proved to be ideal for the task, being simple to set up and easy for the membership to use.Â”
Members simply go to the GAC booking page, which shows the available slots for the following two weeks, as well as who has already booked in, and can reserve a slot with a simple click of a button. If they elect to set up a login, once they return to the form, they can review their bookings and make changes or cancellations just as easily.
Simon notes that feedback from the membership has been universally positive and the system has now been expanded to include five two-hour slots on all days, meaning the club has returned to something close to their previous 24/7 availability. He said: Â"For the club committee, the new system has delivered some unexpected benefits. With our 24/7 access to the club facilities, it has always been difficult to accurately monitor the levels of usage outside of the popular weekend slots, but we now have a detailed breakdown of usage and can identify the popular and not so popular shooting times during the week, as well as build a more detailed picture of which members are shooting regularly, and those that are not.Â”
Additionally, the club has a secure database of those who have been on the field at specific dates and times, so should it become necessary to trace contacts following a member contracting Covid, they can easily supply the information to the necessary authorities.
Overall, since restarting back at the range on 23 May, the club has seen more than 130 members return out of a shooting membership of 206 and numbers are still increasing week on week, which the club regard as a great success.
Simon said: Â"We have yet to return to any form of competition, and for the time being are content just to enable as many members as possible to get back to their archery.Â”