On a mission to bring disabled sports to Leighton-Linslade

Archery
Archery

A revolutionary new project supported by a Paralympic gold medallist is launching in Leighton-Linslade with a mission to provide better disabled sporting opportunities.

The ‘Yes I Can’ project, pioneered by the Rotary Club of Leighton Linslade, along with its five partners, is going to introduce archery and football lessons and increase the capacity of swimming provision for disabled youngsters, after discovering a “horrific” lack of opportunities in the town.

Otters Disability Swimming will increase their capacity.

Otters Disability Swimming will increase their capacity.

The landmark project will be launched on September 30 with the help of Hemel Hempstead’s Jess Stretton MBE, who won a gold medal for archery at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games, recently crowned World Champion in Beijing.

Richard Johnson OBE, Rotary Club president, said: “The Rotary Club always looks to have a project that lasts for three to four years. and we’ve recently completed a four year project with the NSPCC raising £16,000.

“We are now looking to do something equally as impactive, and were horrified to find there was virtually no disabled sports provision in the area.

“We’re thrilled to have Jess - and of course the home of the Paralympics is down the road - but here it’s like a black hole!”

Richard Johnson OBE with two MK Dons 1st Team players presenting an award to a member of the power chair football team. 'The Dons' recently held an awards evening.

Richard Johnson OBE with two MK Dons 1st Team players presenting an award to a member of the power chair football team. 'The Dons' recently held an awards evening.

The Rotary Club has teamed up with partners Leighton Buzzard Mencap, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities, and Friends United Network, a Bedfordshire charity helping those with additional needs and disabilities, discovering a need for weekly sports sessions to enable routine.

Now, thanks to their three “fantastic” sports partners, the Rotary Club of Leighton Linslade has organised local sessions, for disabled youngsters aged 25 and under, from the first week of October to Easter, with plans to also introduce summer lessons.

The MK Dons will be holding football lessons on Tuesdays at Gilbert Inglefield Academy from 5.30pm - 9.30pm, while Silver Arrow Archery, Sparrow Hall Farm, Edlesborough, will be holding lessons from 6pm - 7pm on Wednesdays.

Finally, Otters Disability Swimming, who currently run the only disabled youth sports sessions in the town, will be continuing their Saturday swimming classes at Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre from 10am - 2pm, with the aim of increasing capacity.

The MK Dons already have disabled sports teams in Milton Keynes.

The MK Dons already have disabled sports teams in Milton Keynes.

The Rotary Club will be providing funding for a minimum of three years and is looking for more partners (both private and public sector) to secure the project’s long term future - to increase the variety of sport, train instructors, and offer adult sessions.

The launch is at Grovebury Road Scout Hut from 2.30pm - 4.30pm, and you can meet the partners and try the sports.

To become a partner, call Richard on: 01525 211484.

To register for a lesson contact: lbmencap.org, familiesunitednetwork.org.uk, or the Rotary Club’s Facebook page.