Stratford upon Avon Boat Club recently took possession of a new double scull (boat) to replace one that had to be decommissioned due to age and wear: this purchase was part sponsored by a grant from the Toyota Community Fund. Some of donation was also used buy a set of specially modified blades (sculling oars) for adaptive athletes
The Toyota Community Fund is a programme of small grants designed to help local charities, schools and community projects. Since its inception in 2011, the fund has supported over six hundred and fifty projects and provided over £1million in sponsorship. This investment has helped support social-focussed projects aimed to benefit health and wellbeing
Commenting, Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach said, “The new boat means that Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive section can offer rowing coaching to a wider audience of disabled rowers who need specialised equipment for their sport so that they can compete, train and participate at a higher level: this has meant recently that our two of our adaptive squad were invited to take part in British Rowing’s GB Paralympic trials and will be progressing on British Rowing’s Paralympic Training Pathway Programme with training camps in the UK and also overseas. Thanks to Toyota Community Fund for their grant which has made this possible”
The specially commissioned blades have already shown their worth as Stratford Boat Club’s youngest adaptive athlete has been able to scull at a higher level than before and has gone on to win competitions and has set his sights on more wins!
The newly acquired double has been named ‘Mustardseed’ in Stratford Boat Club tradition after characters in Shakespeare’s plays: ‘Mustardseed’ is one of the fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President said, “The Toyota Community Fund grant also means that the equipment bought can also be used by the rest of the Club’s squads for general recreational and training use as well as the more inclusive mixed ability rowing with adaptive and able bodied athletes rowing together”
Another first at the weekend was the accreditation of two new Level Two coaches Sofia Ward and Jake Blatcher who were on the recent British Rowing adaptive coaching course earlier in the year: Sofia and Jake join the cohort of Stratford Boat Club’s volunteer coaches who give their time coaching the Club’s junior, adaptive, senior and masters squads
For media coverage, see British Rowing online https://www.britishrowing.org/2023/11/toyota-community-fund-pushes-the-boat-out-at-stratford-upon-avon and Stratford Herald online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/grant-helps-club-buy-replacement-requirement-9342272 and page thirty nine