Oarsome boost for Rowability

More than £100,000 of rowing equipment for disabled people has been awarded to British Rowing clubs, after Sport England announced 13 successful ‘Get Equipped’ awards this week.

‘Get Equipped’ is part of Sport England’s strategy to open up opportunities for disabled people to play sport. £50 million has already been committed to increasing opportunities, improving facilities, training coaches and providing equipment and over the next year, Sport England will invest over £7 million to continue this work.

The fund is designed to build on the success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. It acknowledges that, despite the huge success of the Games, many organisations and clubs delivering sport struggle to provide sporting opportunities for disabled people because of a lack of access to specialist equipment. If equipment does exist it is often old, poor quality and can put people off giving sport a go. Yet where the right equipment is available, there is often a high demand resulting in waiting lists and missed opportunities to get people involved in sport.

Sport England has responded to this demand by today distributing over £1.1m of Lottery funding to organisations across England to allow them to provide specialist equipment which will help make sport a practical choice for many more disabled people.

Rowing, like other sports, has seen a huge increase in participation since the London 2012 Paralympic Games where the GB Rowing Team’s Para-Rowing squad won a Gold medal in the LTA mixed four. Since the 1st April 2013 British Rowing has rebranded adaptive rowing to ‘Rowability’, with the sport focusing on an individual’s ability to participate rather than the limitations of their disability. Rowability will complement the successful Sailability and Paddleability programmes being delivered in sailing clubs, canoe clubs and watersport centres.

Rowability is not just a sport but a means of social interaction, relaxation and rehabilitation for those with a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

For the last 10 months, British Rowing’s Rowability Project Officers Katherine Morris (East of England) and Maddie Millichap (West of England) have been working closely with 18 sites across the country to establish these venues as specialist sites which offer Rowability to their local communities. Nine of these eighteen sites have been successful in applying to the Sport England ‘Get Equipped’ funding. They are; All Aboard WSC Bristol, Bedford Rowing Club, CamRowers, Durham Amateur Rowing Club, Gloucester Rowing Club, Hillingdon Outdoor Activities Centre, Northampton Rowing Club, Pengwern, Peterborough City Rowing Club, Runcorn R C and Twickenham Rowing Club. Additional successful bids were awarded to Princess Royal Spinal Injury Centre Sheffield, Broxbourne, Northamptonshire Disability Rowing Association and Minerva Bath.

The successful applications aim to help and support volunteers, as well increasing the provision of accessible equipment for both land and water activity. Previously these venues had inadequate or insufficient equipment preventing an increase in Rowability participation at these sites. The equipment includes stable boats, floats, indoor rowing seats, buoyancy aids, modified oars and riggers and grip aids to name a few.

If you have an impairment, or know someone with a disability over the age of 11 years why not give rowing a go? If you don’t have access to a local club, why not try British Rowing’s indoor rowing virtual league where both individual and team challenges are set every month and a national league table is established?

For further information about Rowability or your local accessible club please contact the Rowability team at Rowability@britishrowing.org.

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