Peninsula parasport program receives funding boost

Brock Niagara Penguins Wheelchair Basketball club in St. Catharines is one of 42 recipient sport organizations which the Canadian Paralympic Committee has selected for its 2012-13 Para-Equipment Fund. Brock Niagara Penguins is Niagara’s premier swim and wheelchair basketball team for youth with a disability.

The program, presented by Petro-Canada, and supported by Sport Canada, will assist numerous parasports and regions across Canada with $136,236 from the Para-Equipment Fund. But with the matching nature of the fund by the recipients, a total of $272,472 was invested into the parasport system.

“We are thrilled to be part of a program that helps to make adapted equipment more available to meet the needs of communities across the country,” said Steven Keith, Director of Brand Loyalty and Marketing Partnerships at Suncor Energy. “Grassroots parasport programs are so important because they provide an opportunity for people with a disability to become part of a vibrant sport community.”

The Para-Equipment Fund matches up to $5,000 to sport organizations that have a national, provincial or local parasport program which requires adapted sports equipment. This approach ensures a partnership approach to the development of a sustainable parasport system throughout Canada. Among the clubs which will benefit from the Fund is the Pemberton Canoe Association in British Columbia.
“Para-canoe will be a brand new event at the Paralympics in Rio in 2016,” said Hugh Fisher, Director of the Pemberton Canoe Association. “In Pemberton, we have a great accessible venue, excellent safe water, coaching, and now thanks to the Para-Equipment Fund, the right dedicated equipment for para-athletes.”

Demand for adapted sport equipment is growing every year. In 2011-12, more than $233,000 was invested across the country. This year, the CPC increased the available funding by approximately $40,000 to meet the response from the community.

The Para-Equipment Fund was launched in 2005 by the Canadian Paralympic Committee with the help of the federal government and Petro-Canada, a Suncor Energy business. Grants are awarded to cover 50 per cent of the total cost of the equipment up to a maximum of $5,000. The applicant is responsible for covering the other 50 per cent of the equipment costs.