The Stepping Stone scheme, funded by Sport England and Cambridgeshire County Council, works by providing one to one support and direct funding to so that individuals can take part in a sport of their choice.
There have been a number of examples over the last year, they include:
* Lewis Speakman who had always wanted to join an archery club. With the support of Stepping Stone it has been possible for him to access training sessions that have built up his confidence to enable him to join as a full member. Lewis is now enjoying his archery alongside his team mates and is getting better with every session.
* Luke from St Ives loves football and is regularly attending training sessions at his local football club and is looking forward to competing in local tournaments with the help of Stepping Stone. The club has not only given him the opportunity to take part in a sport he is passionate about but also a chance to socialise, make friends and interact with people with similar interests.
* Quzheng Zhai (visually impaired) and Xiu Ying (suffers from mobility issues) from Cambridge wanted to start swimming regularly but were unsure if their needs could be accommodated. They are now swimming together on a regular basis and are making use of the specialised equipment to lower them into the water at their local pool.
Other sports Stepping Stone participants have been introduced to include clay pigeon shooting, hockey, wheelchair basketball, and horse riding.
Cllr Roger Hickford, Chair of Highways & Community Infrastructure said: "Stepping Stone helps people to play sport who in the past would not have had the confidence or opportunity to join a club. The project is open to anyone over the age of 14 and covers the full spectrum of disability and additional needs from severe physical or sensory impairment to mild learning difficulties.
"By working closely with clubs and ensuring the necessary training and inclusive provision is in place, the scheme has helped people to access sports and improve their physical fitness, as well as their confidence and general health and wellbeing by being part of a club with all the social benefits this brings. The project has made a real difference to so many lives, it™s fantastic. The oldest recipient of Stepping Stone is 83 so it goes to show it is never too late to get involved.
Direct club bursaries are also now available to encourage new members to join and get involved as active participants, coaches, officials or simply as club volunteers. Funding is available until March 2015.
The Stepping Stone programme is delivered on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council by Action for Children.
Find out how we can help, contact the Stepping Stone Team on 01223 301756 or e-mail [email protected].