Fixing British Fencing’s app for big benefits


British Fencing


Nonprofit organisation, Sport




Assess, Plan, Execute, Maintain


Who is British Fencing?

British Fencing (BF) is the National Governing Body for the Olympic and Paralympic Sport of fencing. It serves the wider BF community — fencing athletes, clubs, coaches, referees and countless volunteers.

BF believes that fencing is for everyone. It’s focused on making the sport more accessible, inclusive and diverse. For instance, it collaborates with schools, learning centres and other activity venues. Together they’re introducing kids to fencing who would have otherwise struggled to engage with the sport. They benefit from gaining new skills, building their confidence and learning how to think independently. In this sense, fencing helps them deal with life’s challenges and be happier individuals. It’s one of the many ways BF is driving social change through its programmes.

A broken app brimming with potential

British Fencing engaged with us in March 2020 looking for help with an app — Explore Fencing. The product had been started by another agency before we arrived on the scene.

The Explore Fencing App was supposed to be a free-to-download interactive asset. One of its purposes was to introduce fencing to beginners through fun games. Each game would come with a description, a how-to guide and a video showing users how to fence. It would be an engaging way to make the sport less daunting and more accessible for those interested, while supporting community fencing coaches’ onward delivery to over 250,000 unique fencing participants each year.

The app was also designed for BF’s Licensed Partner Programme and their coaches, such as activity centres like Centre Parcs or We Are Forging Futures schools. Their version would be paid and they’d get access to premium content, such as teaching materials. Coaches would also have the ability to tailor the content for their uses. This was how BF intended to commercialise the app – by distributing paid-for content.

But the app wasn’t fit for purpose. As James Craig, Commercial Director explains, “From a backend perspective, it was buggy and inefficient. Simple actions, such as adding new content to the system, were extremely time-consuming. We weren’t as concerned with the frontend, but it wasn’t as modern as we had hoped.”

From buggy mess to mature product

BF needed help fixing the app to make it publishable in iOS and Android app stores. To turn the product into a valuable asset, we first explained our plan. It was approved and we launched into action.

The code was riddled with bugs. We addressed them first-, so the app worked for all users. No more error messages or searching for fixes and workarounds. With a better, bug-free code, the user experience at both ends became seamless.

Then we rebuilt the app with a monorepo — one efficient code source for different platforms. Not only could BF now publish in iOS and Android app stores but it could deploy the app for the web. This new functionality enabled classroom use, further adding to its value.

Click here to check out the Explore Fencing app

We also helped BF with things like manual data imports. For instance, previously it would take app administrators dozens of clicks just to create a new user and assign them to games. Now it takes three.


A new revenue stream

We turned the app into a mature product. But our work wasn’t over. BF needed to easily create, edit and publish content on the Explore Fencing App. An effective content management system (CMS) would generate a new revenue stream for BF through paid-for content that was valuable to fencing coaches.

There was an existing function for this purpose – a .exe packaged windows application. It was tedious to use. Initially, we helped BF navigate it as best we could. But every time we encountered a bug that needed fixing, another would appear, so we made the mutual decision to build an online CMS.

Now, things like drag-and-drop functions and shared online access mean users can easily manage and distribute content. It also lets coaches add, edit and publish content, facilitating a more personalised experience. On top of the online CMS, we’re also making the app API-ready which opens up the future for exciting developments.

A promising partnership

The Explore Fencing app project marked the beginning of a new partnership. To kickstart a rewarding relationship, we hosted a workshop with BF to assess its digital estate, how it operates and the types of systems it’s using. We’ll also build on our knowledge of BF’s purpose and long-term goals. From this, we’ll create a practical digital roadmap on how to help our client grow and improve. And, as always, we’ll explain the WHY behind our recommendations, keeping them fully informed every step of the way.

We’ll take the fluffy bits of a digital strategy and help implement it with practical no-nonsense solutions.

BF clicked with us, as James puts it:

"I quickly realised we had a lot in common with the Telescopic team, especially in terms of our values. Even on a personal level, we shared similar energy. I knew working with the team would be enjoyable."

James’ highlights

“Telescopic went above and beyond the original scope,” James says. “I think that’s their default. Even if they finish something ahead of schedule, they’d be proactive in saying: Is there anything else we can help with? It’s not often you get to work with people so committed and proactive.

“The team is also very diligent,” continues James. “They use quality software for communication and always get back to you quickly. We were never left wondering what was happening with the project. And crucially, they put the effort in to make sure you understand the technical side of things. There wasn’t anything we didn’t get or weren’t prepared for.”

Watch the video below for more insight into James’ experience working with Telescopic.

Technology doesn’t have to be your forte. You can still wield it like an Olympian fencer with expert support. Sharpen your competitive edge and drive growth by engaging with us. (Ok, we’re going to stop now.)

We’ll connect you with tech that serves you and secures your success.

Call us on 02036331575 or email us at