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1st Jul, 2022

Warwickshire Bears wheelchair basketball team find new home after Wasps bought their former base

Laura Kearns 23rd Jan, 2020

A WHEELCHAIR basketball club has moved following the closure of Henley Sports Club.

Warwickshire Bears had trained at Henley Sports and Community Club for the past ten years but had to leave after Coventry-based Wasps rugby club bought the 13-acre site to use as their training base.

Now the Bears have relocated to Tile Cross Academy on Gressel Lane in Birmingham – 20 miles from their former home.

The team were offered the new school sports hall which also provided facilities to keep their storage container, holding the 60-strong team’s wheelchairs.

Club founder Tom Masterson said: “We are upset with not being able to find somewhere within the Warwickshire area that could offer the same facilities as Henley, but it was decided that to keep the club running we would be mad to turn down the offer made to us.

“With the distance from our old venue a problem for some, we can see we will sadly lose some members.”

The former London-based Premiership club Wasps have owned Coventry City Football Club’s former stadium home the Ricoh Arena in Coventry since 2014.

Wasps have been temporarily training at Broadstreet Rugby Club in Binley, where it was said players were unhappy with facilities.

Now they have agreed a deal with WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group) to buy the Henley-in-Arden sports centre site, subject to planning permission – where Warwickshire Bears wheelchair basketball previously played.

But Mr Masterson says despite the move being tinged with sadness, the team will ensure it keeps its Warwickshire roots.

He said: “The Bears always prided itself with being from Warwickshire and I don’t think we will change, despite now being based in Birmingham.

“We will still try and keep the contacts and friends we have made over the years and hope that it won’t change now we have moved. The way I look at it is that it’s only a change in postcode and nothing else.

“The group has made a major change to peoples’ lives and hope we can continue finding and helping these people.”

Visit bearswbc.co.uk for more information.

 

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