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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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11th August 2012

Conversations I’ve had over the last few days have brought sharply into focus the differing ways in which people use the word “disabled” and phrases associated with it.  This has interesting consequences for the work of the DSP. 

Before explaining, I’d better clear up one preliminary point.  People do ask from time to time why this isn’t called the “Disability Shooting Project”.  The answer is that there are two reasons.  Firstly, it isn’t grammatically correct; it would be rather like having the “Nationality Health Service”.  Secondly, our website analytics show that around 98% of people who find us via a search engine are searching on the plain English term “disabled shooting”, not “disability shooting”. 

Crazy  wheelchair W

A great many of the people that I meet adhere to the mental equation “disabled = wheelchair”.  By extension, they also arrive at “disabled accessible = wheelchair accessible”.  The difficulty for us is that these equations immediately give rise to the view that if a club’s premises aren’t fully wheelchair accessible, then the club isn’t disabled accessible at all.  That view is wrong.  Furthermore it has very unhelpful consequences because people think that the lack of full wheelchair facilities is a barrier to their club welcoming people with disabilities into the sport.  It’s a great pity that they are doing themselves and their clubs down through a misunderstanding. 

The true picture emerges when people discover that only around 10% of those with disabilities are wheelchair users.  The other 90% are capable of walking, and don’t need ramps, widened doorways, etc.   OK, some of them might not be able to manage lots of stairs or steep steps without a hand up or perhaps a handrail, but they do manage to get around without major difficulties. 

Another twist to the confusion is the assumption that a club whose facilities aren’t wheelchair accessible can’t describe itself as “disabled-friendly”.  That would mean that a club which has acoustic shooting facilities for its blind/VI members, but uses a range that is up a flight of steps, couldn’t be called disabled-friendly! 

I do hope that the DSP’s work is doing a lot to unravel these knots of confusion, so that clubs which welcome any sort of disabled or less-able members are comfortable with the “disabled friendly” tag that they clearly deserve and that we are keen to give them. 

Hot News!

DSP Videos

Videos on disabled target shooting now on Vimeo and YouTube. You are invited to contribute your videos.

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£250,000 for Clubs!

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Read about the huge increase in Sport England investment in grass-roots target shooting. 

International Development

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Read about how we are hoping to expand the range of international competitions open to disabled shooters, and let us know if you can help.  

Helpful Stuff

Vision for Shooters

For most shooters, being able to see well enough to aim accurately is the key to our sport. Our Vision Section has lots of information to help all shooters who have vision problems, great or small.

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.
More information

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.