Touché Fencing Club in Towcester has secured valuable funding through BT’s BPA 25th Birthday Bursary Fund, a fund set up by the British Paralympic Association’s founding partner BT to celebrate the BPA’s 25th anniversary.
The British Paralympic Association is responsible for sending the best prepared team of athletes to represent ParalympicsGB at the Paralympic Games and encourages the development of grassroots participation to support the UK’s position as a leading nation in Paralympic sport.
Touché Fencing Club was founded in 2000 and also includes a number of elite athletes and Paralympians amongst its members, who meet for training on Wednesday nights.
With the help of the bursary, the club are now on target to buy new specialist equipment and purchase a frame which will be much easier for athletes to transport to training and competitions. It will also make it provide more opportunities for people in the local area to try out Wheelchair Fencing.
Explaining why the bursary was so valuable, Baldip Sahota, club chairman, said: “With this fantastic award we will be able to build on the success of our wheelchair athletes in preparation for Rio 2016 and increase the opportunity for local people to take up the sport.”
BT was the founding partner of the British Paralympic Association when it was created in 1989. Together with The Telegraph, another long-term supporter of Paralympic sport, they created the award to mark their 25th anniversary and to recognise and celebrate amateur sports clubs involved in disability sport.
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association, said: “I am delighted to see that Touché Fencing Club will benefit from the BT 25th Birthday Bursary with this award. It is fantastic to see how the money will be used to increase the opportunities and resources available in their community.
“It is a fitting way to mark both our 25th anniversary year and our long-term partnership with BT and The Telegraph, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them both for their ongoing support.”
Members of the public nominated their local club for the BT 25th Birthday Bursary, a fund of £25,000 that is being shared between five sports clubs in the UK to support their work to encourage more disabled people to get into sport.
There is also one additional award of £2000 to be made to Mount Stadium Athletics in Derbyshire. They narrowly missed out on the full bursary, but the judges were so impressed by their nomination that they wanted to support the club.
Entries were judged by a panel that featured BT’s group marketing and brand director Suzi Williams, Paralympian Nathan Stephens, comedian and Channel 4 presenter Adam Hills and the Telegraph’s Gareth A Davies.