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Grant helps club buy replacement requirement

STRATFORD Boat Club recently took possession of a new double scull boat to replace one that had to be decommissioned, due to age and wear, with the purchase being part sponsored by a grant from the Toyota Community Fund which also paid for a set of specially modified blades for adaptive athletes, reports Chris Best.

The Toyota Community Fund is a programme of small grants designed to help local charities, schools and community projects. Since its inception in 2011, the fund has supported more than 650 projects and provided more than £1m in sponsorship. This investment has in turn helped support social-focussed projects aimed to benefit health and wellbeing.

Mark Dewdney, the club’s head adaptive coach said: “The new boat means that Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive section can offer rowing coaching to a wider audience of disabled rowers who need specialised equipment for their sport so that they can compete, train and participate at a higher level.

Stratford Boat Club has taken delivery of new equipment.
Stratford Boat Club has taken delivery of new equipment.

“This has meant two of our adaptive squad were invited to take part in British Rowing’s GB Paralympic trials and will be progressing on British Rowing’s Paralympic Training Pathway Programme with training camps in the UK and overseas.”

The newly-acquired double has been named Mustardseed in Stratford Boat Club’s tradition of choosing Shakespeare characters; Mustardseed is one of the fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Club president Paul Stanton said: “The Toyota Community Fund grant also means that the equipment bought can also be used by the rest of the club’s squads for general recreational and training use as well as the more inclusive mixed ability rowing with adaptive and able-bodied athletes rowing together”

Sofia Ward and Jake Blatcher have been accredited as level two coaches after they attended a British Rowing adaptive coaching course. They will join the other club volunteer coaches who give their time coaching the junior, adaptive, senior and masters squads.

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