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National Lottery provides comfort blanket for Maesteg Canoe Club

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Recently handed a National Lottery grant, Maesteg Canoe Club welcomes children and adults. In recent years, it has won a number of accolades including 2018 Canoe Wales Club of the Year. Its motto is family-run, family fun and it prides itself on being inclusive.

Two years ago, it became the first water based club in Wales and Bridgend to secure Disability Sport Wales’ Insport gold status – the highest standard a club can achieve in terms of creating and developing inclusivity.

Like all clubs, it was forced to cancel sessions from 23 March onwards as the nationwide lockdown was announced. Keen to remind juniors that the club was still there, waiting for lockdown to finish, the club decided to send thought packages to its juniors.

Boats on water


Club Chair Emily Evans – who is also a NHS Wales Ward Clerk – explains:

“We wanted them to know that we were missing them and thinking of them so we sent them a little postbox gift of rainbow and emoji stickers, a glow stick and a balloon just as a little treat.

“We also checked in on each other to make sure everyone was ok.”

Once the swimming pool could reopen, the club met with the leisure providers to work out a new way of doing things. To ensure both juniors and adults can continue to enjoy the sport they love, the coaches roll up their sleeves and help pool staff to sanitise the pool area and equipment.

The club lost revenue in lockdown but National Lottery funding from the Sport Wales Be Active Wales Fund has helped the club to restart:

“The National Lottery funding has made a huge difference. It feels like a security blanket has been thrown over the club. We know we’re ok now to carry on until March.”

Spelling out the importance of the club, Emily adds: “We don’t just provide canoeing activity; it is a second home for our members. We are inclusive and we have members who are autistic. Their confidence has improved so much – one parent told us how much the club had changed the lives of the whole family.

“We welcome member of all abilities, young and old and we see these strong friendships unfolding which is lovely to see. We have also had amputees at the club and someone who was visually impaired. Everyone is welcome!”

With the help of National Lottery funding, thousands of grassroots sports workers and volunteers from local clubs and organisations across the UK, have been be able to continue to help the nation to remain active, happy and motivated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes, many of which are supporting the most vulnerable in our communities across the UK during the Coronavirus crisis.

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