Disability sport gets back on track with funding for development officer

David Ferguson,David Laing and Jed Renilson at Kelso Swimming Pool.
David Ferguson,David Laing and Jed Renilson at Kelso Swimming Pool.

A DRIVE to encourage sporting participation for all in the Borders has gone up another gear.

Borders Sport and Leisure Trust (BSLT) is currently recruiting for the new post of sports development officer for disability, which will focus upon coordinating, implementing and facilitating opportunities for the participation in sport and physical activities for individuals with a disability living in the region.

As further evidence of its commitment to helping to remove barriers to exercise for members of the community, Borders Sport and Leisure Trust’s Active Schools team have also just introduced a Paralympic 2012 Club for school-age children with physical, sensory or learning disabilities.

The club, which will feature opportunities to enjoy sports – including tennis, athletics football and boccia – is scheduled to take place every second Saturday at Langlee Community Centre until March 31.

It builds on the hugely successful Paralympics Festival held in November which more than 100 disabled children attended. Borders Sport and Leisure Trust is planning to host more Paralympics Festival events in March and June.

David Ferguson, chairman of the Scottish Borders Disability Sports Group (SBDSG), said: “There is great work being done in the Borders in disability sport, but a huge obstacle to developing that is the lack of a dedicated disability sports officer.

“As a group we have campaigned for help in this area and last summer Borders Sport and Leisure Trust (BSLT) pledged to take up the challenge of creating a post.

“The Bill McLaren Foundation came on board in November to help us and BSLT, with the funding for a one-year pilot scheme covering three days per week.

“We will continue to seek funding for a full-time officer, but this pilot is a great start and I have no doubt that it will bring significant benefit to the Borders community. There is a lot of enthusiasm for sport among people with physical, learning and sensory challenges, and support from sports clubs and coaches across the region.

“What we hope a development officer will do is pull that together, coordinate, manage and enthuse, so that more people in the Borders become more active, access opportunities and enjoy the difference that sport can make to their lives.

“We would like to extend our gratitude to BSLT and the Bill McLaren Foundation for their support.”

Brian Renwick. Bill McLaren Foundation grants director, added: “The BMF is delighted to have this opportunity to help to provide a disability special development officer in the Borders and looks forward to playing an active role in supporting our partners BSLT and the SBDSG and the successful candidate.

“This is a very exciting appointment and one that fits in well with our goals, particularly to open up sporting opportunities to people across the Borders, which is why we were pleased to be able to support the application for assistance. We look forward to the success of this pilot project and hope it leads on to something more long-term.”

Full information on the role can be obtained by contacting Borders Sport and Leisure Trust on 01750 724980 or emailing jane.munro@bslt.org.uk. The closing date for applications is January 30.