Funding boost for disability sport

Stichill tennice ace Lucy Porteous

Stichill tennice ace Lucy Porteous

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Borders disability sport is to receive a boost thanks to a new grants scheme aimed at improving access to athletes across the region.

The scheme has been developed by Border Sport & Leisure, the Borders Disability Sports Group and Club Sport Borders and will provide grants of up to £300 in four different categories.

There will be individual grants for people wanting to participate in disability sports sessions or for clubs and organisations to develop specific activities to enhance participation; special projects grants for clubs or organisation to run disability focused events; specialist equipment grants to assist towards the cost of apparatus and competition/event grants to help towards travel costs, accommodation or entry fees for individuals participating in competitions at local, regional or national events.

BDSG chairman Dr Graham Cook has carried out a study over the last two years, the result of which shows a steady improvement in both participation and performance from disabled athletes. The aim now, he says, is to get more mainstream clubs on board.

“We hope this new Grants scheme will assist individuals and also provide extra support for the many clubs and organisations across the region who are trying to make taking part in sport easily accessible and enjoyable for all,” he added.

Dr Cook’s study is backed up by the numerous success stories over the same period of time with athletes such as Sammi Kinghorn (wheelchair racing), Lucy Porteous (tennis), Beth Johnston (swimming) and Patrick Wilson (Boccia) among many to claim national honours. There are at least 25 mainstream sports clubs which already have members with a disability and interest amongst others in being able to facilitate disability sport is at an all time high.

“We believe that offering this introductory scheme will help break down perceived barriers and allow individuals with a disability to get involved in sports sessions, whether it be with cost or for specialist equipment,” explained BSL disability officer Alan Oliver.

“Also this grant will support clubs to establish new disability sessions and purchase the relevant equipment to make the session worthwhile for the participants.”

Individuals or organisations interested in finding out more about the grants should contact Alan Oliver at aoliver@bslt.org.uk.