Sporting stars launch new Sports Equipment Service
Two sporting heavyweights came together on Monday 15th July, 2019, to launch a service that will supply disabled children with the specialist equipment they need to participate in sport.
Liverpool FC legend Mark Lawrenson, and the 2016 Paralympic Javelin gold medal winner, and current world record holder, in the F46 category, Hollie Arnold (MBE) announced the initiative at the Caudwell International Children’s Centre, in Keele, Staffordshire.
The Centre, located on Keele University’s Science and Innovation Park, is the new HQ of Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families.
“Contrary to popular belief many disabled children are desperate to participate in sport,” said Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell children. “Sadly there are many barriers for them, not least the price of specialist sports equipment which can cost up to 100 times more than its able-bodied equivalent.”
Adaptive equipment is a prerequisite for a number of sports including basketball, football, rugby, tennis, running and archery.
Thanks to funding support from The Edward Gostling Foundation (EGF), formed in 1994 to give people with a physical or mental disability the same quality of life opportunities as others, Caudwell Children will now be able to match fund specialist sports equipment for aspiring athletes for the next five years.
Caroline Kendall, EGF’s Operations Director, said: “The Edward Gostling Foundation is delighted to support such a dedicated and diverse charity. Our grant over the next few years will support many children with a range of disabilities and enable them to have the chance at participating in sporting activities. Both The Edward Gostling Foundation and Caudwell Children have a vision that any person living with a disability, and their loved ones, have access to the best possible chances in life.”
With specialist sports wheelchairs costing up to £12,000 the service will allow many more disabled children and young people to get active in the sports they love.
“It’s incredibly important that disabled children and young people get the opportunity to take part in sport,” exclaimed Trudi. “It helps them to understand the importance of teamwork, it develops motivation and independence, improves their physical and mental health and importantly allows them to have fun and meet new friends.”
Hollie Arnold, aged 25, was just 14 when she received support from Caudwell Children. Despite being born without a right forearm her parents noticed she had an aptitude for sport and the javelin in particular.
They contacted Caudwell Children and they immediately offered support. As Hollie explained: “They provided the funding for four javelins, two pairs of javelin spikes, two weight training balls and a specially weighted prosthetic throwing arm, which helped me to balance when throwing.
“Simply put if they hadn’t helped me with the £4,400 I needed for the equipment there would have been no way for me to compete.
“Whilst I’ve put in a huge amount of work to get to this position none of my success would have been possible without the support of Caudwell Children.”
Mark Lawrenson, who won 5 League Championships, 1 European Cup, 1 FA Cup and 3 League Cups during his time at Liverpool is delighted to be supporting the service. As he explained: “Sport is so important to the physical and mental wellbeing of children and young people and everyone should get the opportunity to participate.
“The pleasure that disabled children get by taking part in sport is evident for all to see when you watch a game of powerchair football.
“Believe me the dedication, determination, and commitment of a disabled footballer is no different to an able bodied player.”
16-year-old Dylan Kelsall from Longton, in Stoke-on-Trent, who has represented England at Under 16 level at Powerchair Football, has also received support from Caudwell Children. “I’m the same as anyone my age I love to watch and play football,” he enthused. “The only difference is that I need a £6,000 wheelchair to control the ball rather than a £60 pair of boots.
“Before football it could be lonely at times but now I’ve met people who are going through the same experience.
“Football has made a massive, massive difference to my life. I have to go to hospital every six months for operations and sometimes it can get me down, but football is the thing that drives me to get out again.”
To find out how Caudwell Children could support your child with specialist sports equipment, and to find out more about the charity’s Sports Equipment Service, visit the web page here.