More than 130 children gathered at Tweedbank last week for the 2014 Para Sport Schools Festival, organised by Borders Sport and Leisure and sponsored by the Scottish Building Society.
The children, from schools across the region, tried out a range of activities, many of which will feature in the Commonwealth Games, including tennis, boccia and rugby.
The festival marked the launch of Borders Sport and Leisure’s new three-year plan for disability sport, also backed by The Bill McLaren and Robertson Trust Foundations, in the region which will give children, teenagers and adults with a disability more opportunities to get involved in a wider range of disability sports.
Ewan Jackson, chief executive of Borders Sport and Leisure, said: “The next three years are going to be exciting times for disability sport in the Borders.
“I want to thank The Bill McLaren Foundation for its continued support of disability sport over the past two years.
“The Foundation’s funding has enabled the creation of new initiatives and has enhanced the awareness of disability sport in the Borders. Without their backing this would never have been achievable.
“A generous three-year grant from the Robertson Trust Foundation will also help to take disability sport forward.”
The Disability Plan will see Borders Sport and Leisure work in partnership with other organisations, including the Scottish Borders Disability Sports Group, Scottish Disability Sport and clubs across the region to expand disability sports participation and establish opportunities for athletes to progress in their chosen sports.
Developments will include initiatives to increase the number of qualified personnel and role models for disability sports via leadership programmes and coach education. Borders Sport and Leisure will also capitalise on Commonwealth Games enthusiasm through the creation of a Commonwealth Games Passport scheme for disabled children, offering the chance to take part in new sports sessions outside of school hours.
Alan Oliver, Borders Sport and Leisure’s disability sports officer, said: “The past two years have been fabulous in terms of Borders athletes competing and succeeding in regional, national and international competitions across a number of sports.
“Today’s festival is designed to give participants the opportunity to try and develop their ability in a variety of sports in a fun and social environment and we hope it will lead them to participating in sport on a regular basis.”
Alex Moffatt from the Scottish Building Society, which has a branch in Galashiels, added: “We are pleased to have been able to support today’s festival through the provision of free transport for the participating schools.
“Our building society is the oldest in the world, with a history that is rooted in local communities, so it has been very rewarding to help with such a worthwhile initiative.”