Staffordshire’s Trentham Canoe Club has secured valuable funding through BT’s BPA 25th Birthday Bursary Fund, a fund set up by the British Paralympic Association’s founding partner BT to celebrate the BPA’s 25th anniversary.
The British Paralympic Association is responsible for sending the best prepared team of athletes to represent Paralympics GB at the Paralympic Games and encourages the development of grassroots participation to support the UK’s position as a leading nation in Paralympic sport.
Trentham Canoe Club was founded in 2006 and provides people in the local area with the opportunity get out on the water and try canoeing and kayaking. The club welcomes people of all abilities with sessions taking place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday every week. The bursary will go towards the purchase of additional equipment and boats.
The club currently has in the region of 120 members with other members of the local community heading down to the lake for one-off sessions. With Para-Canoe set to make its Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games, news of the bursary is particularly exciting for the club as the profile of the sport continues to grow and develop.
Explaining why the bursary was so valuable, David Whiston, Club Chairman, said:
”Trentham Canoe Club prides itself on being an inclusive club that offers paddlesport options for people of all abilities. We are particularly excited to expand our equipment range suitable for disabled paddlesport, or paddle-ability as it known in the UK.
“While we have been able to provide a certain amount to our members, we are grateful for the opportunity to purchase more specialised equipment. This will help everyone involved with paddle-ability to experience the quality of equipment that may help them progress from their first experiences at the club to participating in both national events and international events, following on from the successes of Trentham members Ian Marsden in Para-Kayak and Dan Hopwood in Va’a (outrigger canoes).”
BT was the founding partner of the British Paralympic Association when it was created in 1989. Together with The Telegraph, another long-term supporter of Paralympic sport, they created the award to mark their 25th anniversary and to recognise and celebrate amateur sports clubs involved in disability sport.
Tim Hollingsworth, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association, said:
“I am delighted to see that Trentham Canoe Club will benefit from the BT 25th Birthday Bursary with this award. It is fantastic to see how the money will be used to increase the opportunities and resources available in their community.
“It is a fitting way to mark both our 25th anniversary year and our long-term partnership with BT and The Telegraph, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them both for their ongoing support.”
Members of the public nominated their local club for the BT 25th Birthday Bursary, a fund of £25,000 that is being shared between five sports clubs in the UK to support their work to encourage more disabled people to get into sport.
Entries were judged by a panel that featured BT’s group marketing and brand director Suzi Williams, Paralympian Nathan Stephens, comedian and Channel 4 presenter Adam Hills and the Telegraph’s Gareth A Davies.