Basildon Disabled Sports Club hoping Paralympics will leave a legacy (From This is The West Country)
Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Basildon Disabled Sports Club hoping Paralympics will leave a legacy
THE chairman of Basildon Disabled Sports Club is hoping the legacy of the Paralympic Games will be investment and encouragement to participate.
The London 2012 Games open this evening and expectations are high of medals for Paralympics GB.
But Betty Jeffery believes the legacy of the Games must be more than just encouraging people to take part in sport.
“I’m hoping that the upper echelons — the government and local councils — will sit up and take notice of things that clubs like ours are doing,” she said.
“I would like to see more money available to help clubs provide sport for disabled people.
“And I also hope that the Games will help change people’s attitudes to those with disabilities.
“It would be good if people started talking about what the Paralympic athletes are doing and appreciate that disabled people are not useless.
“We can participate in sport and can also compete against able bodied people.”
Basildon Disabled Sports Club is based at the purpose-built Swan Mead Centre in Church Road, and caters for a wide range of sports.
Current member Adam Fontain will be competing in the 10m air rifle shooting at the Paralympics.
As well as training at Swan Mead Centre, the 22-year-old from Basildon regularly practices at Stoke Mandeville sports centre in Buckinghamshire.
And Jeffery said while the centre at Stoke Mandeville had been rebuilt, the shooting team were still using the original huts from 1948 despite them being the worse for wear.
“It’s those sort of things that I hope the Government and councils can improve because we are reliant on them for funding,” she added.
But on a more positive note, club members have been out at London 2012 events in south Essex and have attracted interest from disabled people keen to take up sport.
Jeffery admits that numbers have been dwindling in recent years, with many younger people playing computer games.
But she hopes the Paralympics and having a Paralympian as a member will encourage others to join the club.
Contact 01268 530577 for more information on Basildon Disabled Sports Club.