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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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14th November 2013

We love shooting WTwo very similar pieces of information received from completely different organisations in the space of a fortnight shine a spotlight on something that much of target shooting needs to wake up to – there are a lot of people out there who would like to join in. 

At our Intellectual Disabilities Conference on 26th October we heard that Headway West Midlands had conducted a poll of their members to find out what sports they would like to have a go at.  They thought they ought to include some “more unusual” options in the list, so added target shooting.  Not only did it come out on top – it was twice as popular as the next sport voted for. 

A week ago the following was received from Inspire Peterborough: “we undertook a survey regarding disability sport in Peterborough and target shooting came out as one of the sports disabled people in Peterborough expressed an interest in getting involved with.  In fact it came out almost at the top of our poll!”.
 
Experience from promotional events and so forth shows that this state of affairs exists throughout the whole population, not just amongst those who are disabled. 
 
The message, loud and clear is this:

When target shooting is offered to people, loads of them want to do it; the reason loads of them aren’t taking it up is because they don’t know it’s on offer

If the whole sport takes this message on board and starts broadcasting its availability loud and clear at all levels, the whole of target shooting could be thriving within two or three years. 

Our clay target brethren know all about this, because their livelihoods all depend upon promoting and advertising the sport at every opportunity – and it works.  When I visit shooting grounds they are always well signposted on approach roads, and with large banners at the gate advertising their presence and what’s on offer.  Visiting a rifle club all too often involves a frustrating search for a very anonymous-looking building that usually has no name board at all. 

It’s time for the rifle and pistol people to shake off their habit of discretion and start promoting themselves.  Anecdotes about people who wanted to take up target shooting but didn’t know there was anywhere they could shoot, when in fact there has been a club close by since before the War, are all too frequent – and are very depressing.  All those years of participation, talent and income lost! 

I can now hear lots of people hammering their keyboards as they compose emails about having to keep a low profile for security reasons.  Allow me to answer them now.  Please would they re-read what I have said about clay target venues – if there was a massive security problem, would they be publicising their locations so enthusiastically?  There are also those enlightened rifle and pistol clubs that are thriving because they are well known and respected in their local communities, and which haven’t suffered a crime wave. 

Times change and attitudes change.  The habit of over-protective secrecy for a sport that was unjustly battered by political and public opinion decades ago is now out of date.  Maintaining proper security measures is quite right and necessary, but behaving like a secret society is more than pointless for a sport – it’s the road to oblivion. And this at a time when the country is more enthusiastic about sport than ever before, in the wake of London 2012.  

Now is the time to open hearts, minds and doors, hoover the welcome mat, and start inviting all those people out there who would love to take up our fantastic sport. 

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Funding Guidance & Information

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

Advice for Clubs

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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Disability Awareness

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.