NEW disabled sporting equipment has been unveiled in Podsmead this week in a bid to encourage more people to take part in activities.
Gloucester’s Blackbridge Jubilee Athletics Track, in Podsmead, has purchased three brand new racing wheelchairs and a specialist throwing frame.
Bob Purcell, managing director of Gloucester Athletics Management Ltd said: “One of our main aims has always been to make the track available to all sectors of the community and to establish ourselves as a focal point for disability athletics in the region.”
Tie-down points for wheelchairs in the throwing circles and the addition of the throwing frame and racing wheelchairs have been installed, which will offer a wide range of athletics events for people with a disability.
Bob said: “We have purchased three chairs and throwing circles. This will allow people in chairs to adapt and take part in the sport.
“We have also got throwing frames.
“These will be used by people who have limited balance and need support if they are standing, they will be able to perch on the end.
“We bought three wheelchairs for just over £2,000 from a charity who provides them to third world countries.
“This has been a big help because one wheelchair costs £2,000.
“We have been working with organisations including Active Gloucestershire who have identified the need for these kind of chairs.”
Bob is now hoping to raise awareness of disability sport across the city.
He added: “We are going to be holding a special one-day event where coaches can come along and we can talk to them about disability and sport.
“We also want to take the equipment along to the Sport Beat festival in May this year.
“It is not so much about raising awareness but more about letting people know what is available to them in Gloucester.
“It can be very difficult for sports centres to adapt to facilitate for disabled users, because of costs.”
To help generate interest in Gloucester, David Robinson has been appointed to the board of trustees, with special responsibility for Disability Athletics.
He said:“Having worked for many years with young adults with learning disabilities, the provision of sporting opportunities for disabled people is something that is very close to my heart.
“We’re building up an impressive array of specialist equipment at Blackbridge for people to use and will soon be holding a workshop that will allow coaches in the area to qualify to teach people with a disability.”
To find out more or to use the equipment contact Bob on 01452 417990.