Dorset Woman Grace McGowan of The Dorset Destroyers is the face of national campaign to help more young people play Wheelchair Rugby
Posted: Wed, 10 Aug 2016 14:15
Today, with just four weeks to the Paralympics, Wooden Spoon, the children's charity of rugby, launches its wheelchair rugby campaign – Supporting Tomorrow's Superstars.
Wooden Spoon aims to raise enough money to buy a rugby wheelchair for every wheelchair rugby club in the UK and Ireland, to encourage more people to get into the sport.
Grace McGowan, 23 from Weymouth, is key player for the Dorset Destroyers and is hoping to represent Team GB in Japan in 2020. She is fronting the campaign with former Team GB Wheelchair Rugby Captains, Steve Brown and Andy Barrow.
She was in a car accident two years ago and was paralysed from her neck down. During her recovery she got some movement back in her arms and she worked hard in physio to get her strength up.
Grace said: "I was never going to accept I couldn't do anything for myself. I was going to see what I could do. It was harder for my family to accept than it was for me.
"Wheelchair rugby means that I am actually doing more with my life now than I was before my accident."
The Government states that there are currently over 10 million disabled people in the UK – 770,000 of these are children. Only 18% of people with a disability are taking part in sport compared 39% of non disabled people.
However, wheelchair rugby offers people with a disability the opportunity to play full contact sport, no matter what their age, ability or gender.
The Disabled Living Foundation estimates that it costs three times as much to raise a disabled child as it does to raise a child without disabilities. Many of the families Wooden Spoon have spoken to have cited costs as a major barrier for getting children and young people with a disability into sport.
Steve Brown, Former GB Wheelchair Rugby Captain said: "Investing in children and young people is not about giving them something to do at the weekend. It gives them confidence that flourishes into every part of their life."
Jai Purewal, Director of Rugby & Community Investment at Wooden Spoon said: "Our vision at Wooden Spoon is that every child and young person, no matter what their background has access to the same opportunities – through the power of rugby.
"This life-changing campaign will provide young people with disabilities better opportunities to play wheelchair rugby and help positively transform their lives."
Wooden Spoon aims to raise £95,000 which will enable the charity to buy and distribute 19 wheelchairs to clubs across the UK & Ireland. Zurich is the first corporate supporter to get behind the campaign.
Wooden Spoon is encouraging people across the Dorset community to get involved. There are opportunities to sponsor the campaign, buy a wheelchair or make a general donation. Find out more at woodenspoon.org.uk/wheelchair-rugby
Wooden Spoon is the children's charity of rugby.
We fund life-changing projects across the UK and Ireland to support disadvantaged and disabled children.
Our rugby heritage has given us our core values of passion, integrity, teamwork and fun. Working closely with the international rugby community, these values drive the ethos and spirit in everything we do.
We fund a range of projects, which are not just rugby focused. We fund approximately 70 projects a year including respite and medical treatment centres, sensory rooms, specialist playgrounds, sports activity areas and community based programmes in the UK and Ireland.
We have over 400 committed volunteers raising money in local communities across the country and we are extremely proud to say that the money they raise funds projects in their local area.
Due the phenomenal support we have received from the rugby community and the public, we have been able to help over a million children and young people through our life-changing projects since we were founded in 1983.
But this still isn't enough. With numbers of UK disadvantaged children anticipated to reach an all time high in future years, we continue to need the public's help more than ever.
Please get involved and together we can change children's lives through the power of rugby. #wearerugby