DISABLED sport in the Borders is moving into a new era with a new chairperson and committee elected at last week’s AGM.
Betty Scott, the long-serving chair of Ettrick and Lauderdale Sports Council and chair of SportBorders, was elected to take over as Scottish Borders Disability Sport Group (SBDSG) chair from David Ferguson, who stood down after a year in office, during which he carried out an extensive review of local disability sport.
She is joined by a new secretary, Ann Stark, while Jim Buchanan continues as vice-chairman and Sue Bennett as treasurer.
Mr Ferguson said: “It has been a very encouraging year and I feel we have achieved a lot in re-organising the group, which is a branch of Scottish Disability Sport, and creating a structure to take disabled sport forward in the Borders.
“All members of the group have played their part, but a key step was the appointment of a development officer on a part-time pilot project, which was secured through funding from Borders Sport and Leisure Trust, the Bill McLaren Foundation and SBDSG.
“Alan Oliver has been in post for three months and he now has the opportunity to build on a fantastic legacy left by Jed Renilson, the founding father of Borders disability sport.
“The key now is that we have a structure that people can be part of, clear roles and responsibilities for everyone, which will help the group itself, but also help the many partners, clubs and athletes around the region and beyond to work more closely together to increase opportunities for Borders people of all ages.”
He added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed bringing it together, and now am confident that we will see more people in the Borders with all kinds of disability, be it learning, sensory or physical, being given the chance to grasp the benefits and enjoyment that sport can bring.
“Working with BSLT, Active Schools, SBC, clubs and individuals, I know that Alan will prove over the next year just how valuable the group and disabled sport development is to the Borders community.
“I would just urge the funding bodies, and others, to back the group by extending the funding beyond this pilot year, and also ask Borders clubs, be they rugby, football, swimming, athletics, cycling or whatever, to think about how inclusive they really are and consider approaching Borders Disability Sport for help to open themselves up to more disabled people in their community.”
Mr Oliver presented plans to the AGM last week in which he outlined a series of events to be held across the Borders, including an open swimming meeting, but stressed a desire to move away from one-off events and create regular coaching sessions in different sports in different parts of the region.
Joining Oliver on the general committee were Samantha Kinghorn, a new athlete representative, her mother Elaine, the new athletics co-ordinator, Louise Johnson from Galashiels (swimming co-ordinator), Robert Harvey from Clovenfords (bowls co-ordinator) and Helen Rogerson (equestrian co-ordinator).
New chair Mrs Scott said: “I would like to thank David for all the work he has put in over the past year. The plans are now in place for a healthier future for disability sport in the Borders.
“We will still have to work hard, and I would urge people interested in disability sport to get in touch, but with our new committee and new structure I am confident we can make a significant difference in 2012-13.”
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