Archery GB targets government to still find a home on the range

Archery GB asking Government to allow outdoor ranges to remain open

The UK suffering renewed lockdowns, restriction tiers and firebreaks, a sporting group hopes its appeal will hit its mark with the UK Government.

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Archery GB, the governing body for archery, is lobbying the government to allow outdoor ranges to remain open with much of the UK being asked to remain indoors.

Archery was named as a specific activity that would not be allowed to continue during the lockdown despite it being an individual sport that can be conducted in isolation.

How safe is it to book an archery session right now?

Since the first lockdown clubs have followed Archery GB’s guidance to be COVID-secure with archers pre-booking shooting times and numbers limited to enable adequate social distancing. Archers and coaches wear masks and all venues have installed track and trace while reducing potential touchpoints.

Archery GB say a recent members’ survey emphasised the importance of archery for their mental wellbeing including those working in the NHS.

Participant viewpoint

One survey respondent said: “I find archery relaxing and, as an NHS worker, stress relief is essential and eagerly anticipated. Without archery, I struggled to switch off from work, just ‘be’ and breathe, which is what archery has taught me.”

Archery GB's view

Archery GB CEO Neil Armitage said: “We were disappointed to hear the government’s decision to close outdoor archery ranges. We agree with comments from fellow sports such as golf and tennis and believe that certain sports, particularly outdoor archery, can be safe with the current appropriate common-sense measures in place.

“The nature of our sport is that it may be enjoyed outdoors with adequate social distancing and COVID-secure protocols. Shooting arrows outdoors represents no more risk than taking a country walk, one could argue that it represents a lower risk as protocols are in place at all outdoor ranges.”

In the members’ survey 44 per cent of archers said not being able to do archery had a negative effect on their mental wellbeing, 47 per cent said it had a negative effect on their physical wellbeing, 96 per cent felt safe at their clubs when they re-opened.

“We call on government to review the terms of the lockdown in England and allow outdoor archery to continue, encouraging physical activity and supporting positive mental health,” Neil Armitage added.