A WHEELCHAIR basketball club scored a slam dunk with a funding boost from a regional grant-giving charity.
Warwickshire Bears, based in Henley, is on the quest to find the next generation of Paralympians after a £2,800 donation from the Heart of England Community Foundation allowed them to purchase a new wheelchair specifically for junior players.
The club, which was established in 2003 by Tom Masterson and Mark Butler, has around 40 regular players including a league two team which was promoted last year as well as a newly formed women’s team.
Teams include members as young as eight-years-old through to 65 as well as two former Paralympians, skier Anna Turney and swimmer Mark Butler.
Now, as part of its aim to engage more young players and develop a junior team, the club is fund-raising for the costs of new junior size wheelchairs – and the foundation’s grant, which was secured though the Heart of England Fund & Coventry Building Society Community Fund, has funded one of three purchased so far.
Tom said: “Although there are plenty of sports clubs within the region, wheelchair basketball is one of the only team sports which is truly inclusive and available to all.
“Many of our players were previously sporty before their accidents and naturally want to keep active, and wheelchair basketball is a great way of staying involved in sports – although we welcome able-bodied players too.
“The club offers a great opportunity for players to keep active, learn new skills and make new friends, and these opportunities are never more important than for young people, which is why we have been trying to develop a junior league team.
“In order to do this however, we need to ensure players have suitable sized wheelchairs to help them compete in matches. Each wheelchair costs around £3,000 so any donations are welcomed with players entirely grateful.
“So far we have managed to fund-raise for three out of ten chairs, and the donation from the Foundation has been a vital resource in helping us achieve our goal.”
Visit www.bearswbc.com to find out more about the Warwickshire Bears and how to get involved.