FEATURE: Rugby Sport for the Disabled keen to reach more people than ever before

RSDA chairperson Bernard Purdy and Avril Arundel at the presentation of the frisbee equipment
RSDA chairperson Bernard Purdy and Avril Arundel at the presentation of the frisbee equipment

Group meets every Saturday morning at Queen's Diamond Jubilee Centre

RUGBY Sport for the Disabled Association chairperson Bernard Purdy has described the impact the charity has had as immeasurable – and he is keen to reach more people than ever before.

Based at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre, RDSA promotes and provides access to sport, recreation and leisure activities for disabled people.

The charity caters for all types of disability, including physical, sensory and learning, and all levels, from beginners to World Championship level, with experienced helpers on hand to provide tuition.

Sports include swimming, table tennis, bowls, darts, archery and many others, while both the male and female World Crossbow Shooting Association Assisted World Champions are RSDA members.

Having provided such a service in the Rugby area for more than 40 years, Bernard said it is hard to describe the effect the charity has had on the lives of disabled people in the local community.

“The impact it has had is immeasurable,” he said. “For some of them, it’s their only opportunity to get out and do something, it breaks that isolation and improves their self-esteem.

“It’s also great exercise and activities like swimming and archery have good health and psychological benefits, as well as allowing those who come along a chance to socialise and meet new people.

Members have been known to say that they thought their lives were over when they became disabled, and then decided that they had only just begun.

“The aim is to help disabled people and encourage them to take up sport and improve their wellbeing, including their physical and mental health and tackling depression.”

TSB and Sport for Development charity, Sported, have come together to help local community groups like Rugby Sport for the Disabled Association use the power of sport to make a positive difference to young people and the communities they are part of.

With their support, Rugby Sport for the Disabled Association will become stronger over time, so they can help even more local young people in Warwickshire and the neighbouring Midlands counties.

And Bernard, who first got involved with RSDA in 1982 as a swimming helper, is looking forward to seeing the club transform the lives of even more people in the coming years.

“Our age demographic is more people in their 20s, but we do have younger children and we are very keen to encourage more youngsters to get involved,” he said.

“The main ambition going forward is to increase our membership as the more members we have, the more people we are helping, which is exactly what we want.

“We are also keen to build up the number of activities we have for younger members, with things like frisbee and trampolining, as that is good for the long-term viability of the club.

“We will be doing some more promotion to encourage younger people to get involved and we are also looking at working more closely and collaborating with the local school. We are always on the lookout for more volunteers to help as well. Whether you are good at a sport and would like to share your knowledge or would like to learn a sport yourself as you go along it is an enjoyable and worthwhile way to spend your time. The association meets every Saturday morning at The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre

“It is very rewarding being involved in such as great charity and every time a child swims their first length or someone says this has given them a reason to get out of bed it makes it worth it.”

RSDA have been getting more and more equipment with younger members specifically in mind and soon hope to introduce some major new activities, such as Bouncy Castle and trampolining.

Last Saturday Mrs Avril Arundel presented the association with a Frisbee target and related equipment in memory of her late mother and father. Avril’s parents, Ken and Mabel Martin were the mainstay of RSDA’s swimming section for many years from the association's beginning and taught literally hundreds of children to swim. It was because of their dedication to children that Avril thought it appropriate to donate something to cater for our younger members.

TSB, in partnership with Sport for Development charity Sported, is proud to help local community groups across the UK use the power of sport to make a positive difference to young people and the communities they are part of. #TSBLocalPride