Despite their ageing sporting facilities Portland College has enjoyed many success stories as they help disabled sportsmen and women from across Mansfield and Ashfield flourish.
And it is hoped that the Nottingham Road college will be able to help even more people thrive, on both local and national level, if they can get £2m together to finance an ambitious new sports academy.
One student who has made his way to the very top is Max Foord, who became the WPU World Champion in Powerlifting after competing in the finals at Emmeloord in The Netherlands during late 2013.
Max’s amazing achievement was made even more impressive when you consider he had been weightlifting for just 12 months, and despite being a disabled competitor, was taking part in an able-bodied competition.
Max (17), is currently a student at Dawn House School in Rainworth but accesses Portland as he works towards qualifications in Sports Leadership.
His meteoric rise in powerlifting started when he was asked to compete for the College in weightlifting at the British Disability Sports Team Championships in Coventry during November 2012.
In his first ever attempt at the sport, Max won the individual weightlifting event and also set a new games record for a 16 year-old.
Dave Winter, Sports Co-ordinator at Portland College, said Max’s talent was there for all to see.
“It was obvious to us that we had unearthed a rare talent, one with the skills and determination needed to succeed, but still very raw,” he said.
“One of Portland College’s volunteers, Colin Robinson, who has worked with many champion powerlifters offered to help train Max to supplement the coaching he was receiving here at the College. This enabled Max to receive the best advice and to learn techniques that would accelerate his progress.”
Within just three months of his initial introduction to weightlifting, Max had been crowned the British powerlifting champion; within eight months he was the European champion, and by an odd quirk of coincidence, the WPU World Championship event came almost 12 months to the day of his first lift in Coventry.”
The ambitious life-changing academy would also be open to the wider community through link-ups with disability clubs and sporting organisations.
To find out more about the college’s plans to raise funds for the Inclusive Sports Academy or to discuss how you can get involved, contact Andrea Hudson on 01623 499141.
Donations to the Inclusive Sports Academy appeal can be made by calling the fundraising team at Portland College on 01623 499141 or by visiting www.portland.ac.uk or by cheque.
Donations can be made by cheque, payable to Portland College or via http://www.justgiving.com/portlandcollege
Are you planning a fundraising event to help this campaign? Email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org