The Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association is pleased to announce that the Bridging the Gap program has been reinstated. The nationwide “first contact” program introduced hundreds of people with disabilities to wheelchair sports every year through Have a Go days, beginners programs, equipment loans and peer mentorship programs. It was responsible for introducing Paralympians like Sarah Hunter and Trevor Hirschfield to wheelchair sports.
Last July, the 18-year-old program lost funding and ceased operation. Starting this week, however, Wheelchair Basketball Canada, Tennis Canada and Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association have renewed their funding commitment to the program and it will begin again.
“I think the absence of Bridging the Gap proved just how valuable the program really is,” said National Bridging the Gap Director Duncan Campbell. “I’m so pleased that the program has been reinstated and that we can ensure that people with disabilities across Canada are able to get involved in the wheelchair sport of their choosing.”
Research shows that people with disabilities who play sports have less stress and depression, a greater likelihood of employment, fewer hospital stays and an overall greater quality of life than their inactive peers. Unfortunately, many people with disabilities still face multiple barriers to wheelchair sports participation. The Bridging the Gap program helps to get people with disabilities interested in wheelchair sports, then reduces their barriers to participation by providing them with equipment, low-cost programs and peer mentorship.
If you would like to get involved in wheelchair sports, please contact the Bridging the Gap coordinator in your area.