Grassroots grants for success stories

BMX action at Bulwell
BMX action at Bulwell

A FUNDING fillip, aimed at boosting grassroots sport, has benefited two success stories in the Dispatch district.

For the Bulwell-based BMX club, Nottingham Outlaws, and disabled tennis-player Michael Clarke, of Hucknall, have both received welcome grants.

Oultaws have been presented with £975 to train new coaches and improve safety equipment at the club, which is based at the BMX track at Sellers Wood Drive.

And Clarke (18), of Hayden Lane, was one of 18 sportsmen and women to receive a share of £10,000 to help him prepare for the Special Olympics World Summer Games, which were held in Athens, Greece in June.

The money came from the Cash4Clubs scheme, which was launched in 2008 by former Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.

Now backed and funded by the renowned online betting exchange, Betfair, it gives clubs the chance to apply for grants to improve facilities, buy new equipment and gain coaching qualifications.

Almost £150,000 has been handed out to 199 community sports clubs across Britain in the last three years.

Clarke received his cash as part of a a grant to Special Olympics GB, a charity that relies on donations to provide training and competition for more than 8,000 youngsters with disabilities and special needs.

The Hucknall teenager was diagnosed at birth with brain damage and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

But he has been transformed by his love of tennis and won gold and silver medals at national and European events before landing a silver and a bronze in Athens.

Outlaws have gone from strength to strength since they were formed seven years ago. Run by volunteers in an area of dense social housing, the club now boasts more than 150 members, aged from five to 40-plus.

Committee member Phil Gray-Blest said: “The £975 we’ve received from Cash4Clubs will mean we can get more young riders trying out the sport.

“As BMX racing becomes more widely recognised (it is now an Olympic sport), more and more young people want to get involved.”

Georgina Cobbett, of Betfair, commented: “The benefit Outlaws bring to their members and their wider communities is vital.

“At a time of falling participation levels and increased pressure on sports funding by local councils, I’m delighted we have been able to support them.”