Cash gives disabled athletes a big boost
5:30am Friday 7th March 2014 in By Katie Bond, @SwindonAdver007
DISABILITY sport in the town is set to receive a welcome boost after Swindon Shock Wheelchair Basketball Club and Swindon Harriers Athletics Club secured awards from Sport England to buy new equipment.
Swindon Shock, which received £9,700, will use the money for new sports wheelchairs, a trailer and a storage container, which will open up opportunities for disabled people in Swindon to try wheelchair basketball for the first time.
Swindon Harriers will use the £6,700 they received to purchase racing wheelchairs, helmets, gloves and indoor training rollers for their new wheelchair racing group.
Ben Humphrey, who co-ordinates both teams, said: “These grants will equip our disabled athletes for the next decade and also provide us with the resources to inspire the next generation of Paralympic athletes.”
Lisa O’Keefe, Sport England’s Director of Insight, said: ‘‘We know that many organisations and clubs delivering sport struggle to provide sporting opportunities for disabled people because of a lack of access to specialist equipment.
“We are delighted to award these vital funds to Swindon Shock and Swindon Harriers, which will play a transformative role in opening up sport to many people who previously found it inaccessible.”
The award is part of Sport England’s ‘Get Equipped’ fund which was designed to build on the success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The number of disabled people playing sport regularly is on the rise.
In December, Sport England’s Active People Survey – an annual, in-depth measure of the nation’s sporting habits – revealed that a record number of disabled people in England now play sport each week.
The number of disabled people aged 16 and over playing sport once a week has increased by 62,000 over the last year, bringing the total number to its highest recorded figure of 1.67 million - 351,000 more than in 2005 when London won the bid to host the Games.
However, non-disabled people are still twice as likely to play sport as disabled people, which is why Sport England continues to focus attention and investment to address this imbalance.