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  • Di CoatesDeanna (Di) Coates lives in Hampshire, shoots air rifle from a wheelchair, and is one of our most successful disabled international athletes. 
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  • vicmorris1Vic Morris lives in south Wales and is paralysed from the neck down as the result of an accident.  With the aid of an 'equaliser' device invented by his coach, John Kelman, Vic shoots pistol and rifle. 
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  • MattSkelhon1Matt Skelhon shot to fame when he grabbed gold at the Bejiing Paralympic Games and proved it was no fluke by claiming silver and bronze at London 2012.

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  • scoutwithprosthesis1This young Scout was born without a left hand.  When he took an interest in shooting, which is very popular in the Scout movement, Hampshire Scouts helped his local club to find a solution. 
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  • peterbreheny1Peter Breheny from Derbyshire shoots benchrest rifle.  He has Kennedy's Disease, a progressive wasting condition that has weakened his limbs. 
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  • michaelwhapples1Michael Whapples from Leicestershire is blind and shoots air rifle.  In 2011 he was the first British shooter ever to compete at the Open European Shooting Championships for the Vision Impaired, held at Nitra, Slovakia. 

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  • stewartnangle1Stewart Nangle, a Lancastrian, is pictured shooting .22 pistol.  What the photograph does not show is that at the time one of his legs was fitted with a metal frame that was bolted into the bones. 
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23rd August 2012

Crazy - key W

The chairman of a county rifle and pistol association approached me at Bisley during the NSRA Rifle Meeting and said that they were keen to support the DSP’s work, then asked what they could do to support it.  I think this is the first time that we’ve actually had an offer of help from a county, rather than a club or shooting ground. 

After a few moments of blankness, three things suddenly occurred to me.  A week later, I haven’t thought of anything better, so perhaps that initial response was the right one.  If so, that’s a relief; usually I spend the next few days thinking of all the things I ought to have suggested and kicking myself. 

These were the three suggestions:

1. Try to ensure that as many as possible of the competitions run in the county are fully inclusive and integrated, and make sure that the publicity material about them states plainly that they are.  The second part might seem rather pointless to many smallbore shooters, because the .22 and air disciplines are so accustomed to integration that they take it for granted.  The problem is that people with disabilities who  might be thinking of joining the sport, or who have taken it up and are looking for competitions to cut their teeth on, may not be aware of that level of integration.  They will be used to the position outside the smallbore world, in which anything that doesn’t state that it IS accessible, is NOT. 

2. Encourage the clubs in the county that are not already fully disabled accessible to improve and develop their facilities so that they can cater for shooters with disabilities.  This will probably involve explanations about the availability of support and funding for carrying out such works – something I mentioned in my last blog!  It is a lot easier for the county associations to do this, because they only have to deal with one or two dozen clubs, and they will know many of the people involved.  It’s much, much harder for the national associations, because of the sheer numbers of clubs, which means the task requires resources they cannot spare, and they can’t use the personal contact gambit to get results. 

3. Do as much as possible to spread the word about the DSP and its work, reminding people of how important disabled shooting is within the sport, and encouraging everyone involved to promote it whenever and wherever they can.  I’m beginning to see evidence via our internet presence, and to hear anecdotal evidence from elsewhere, that the great message of the amazing disabled-accessibility of target shooting is at last being picked up by the great and the  good in the world of sport, and is meeting with considerable approval. 

It’s time for shooting to come in from the cold, and that enquiry last week has made me realise that the county associations have a valuable role to play in helping it to happen. 
 

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Need information on funding for any aspect of disabled target shooting?  Check out the extensive Funding section on this site. 

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EFDS Inclusion Hub is a free on-line resource created by the English Federation of Disability Sport for clubs that wish to become more disabled-friendly and include more disabled people in their activities.
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For those encountering people who have various types of disabilities, we offer a round-up of some on-line advice and videos that may help to put everyone at their ease.