The Newcastle Fencing and Sports Trust was established in September 2013 by a small group of parents of fencers who were members of the Newcastle Fencing Club. Head Coach Iain Aberdeen’s vision was to create a permanent facility for the sport of Fencing in the North East of England. After an extensive search, the Trust found a 10,000 square foot empty unit on Benfield Business Park. The first problem was to create a level floor and install the aluminium pistes with as much of the wiring as possible hidden below the floor. The centre was open by Easter 2014 since when it has hosted fencing tournaments with up to 90 competitors and been the home of fencing clubs both independent and part of local schools and universities.
At the start the centre was configured with fencing pistes, changing rooms, showers and toilets, a visitors’ viewing gallery, café servery and a secure 20m pistol range. In more recent developments, 25 shooting targets have been installed to provide the capability to host shooting competitions with up to 25 participants shooting simultaneously. Current efforts are focussed on upgrading these stations to automated targets, either fully electronic or with automatic target return.
As a registered charity, the Newcastle Fencing & Sports Trust aims to increase participation in sport generally and in fencing and shooting in particular. With support from grant funding bodies, the Trust has sought to engage with various groups including disadvantaged youth groups, refugees and asylum seekers, disabled athletes and armed forces veterans among others. In addition, the Fencing Centre provides a flexible and spacious venue suitable for a variety of alternative uses including rifle shooting and indoor archery