Angling 4 All formed initially to offer a day service for people in local residential homes with learning difficulties. Three and a half years later, the club is a fully-fledged angling club with 28 members who have a range of disabilities but a common love of angling.
“The club’s value base is very strong with people with disabilities at the heart, in everything we do.”
We spoke to John Aisbitt from Gateshead Council who helps to run the club, about the clubs development and success over the last few years.
Angling 4 All has had great competition success as the club has been the reigning champions of the Jack Charlton team disability event for the past two years, having been supported locally by Kielder Fishing Club.
As well as their success in competition, the club has successfully developed a programme of volunteering for its members.
Volunteers are the heart of the club and its members have taken up opportunities in the past to volunteer at local and national events, including the British Transplant Games. The team of volunteers will once again support the national event which will be held this year in North Lanarkshire.
The club has also just received funding from the Angling Trust to fund advanced coaching training, which has been used to further develop its staff to expand the range of activities that are available. The club is also providing coaching to its members to offer qualifications and new life skills.
Terry is one of the dedicated volunteers with a learning disability, who has taken up this offer and will be starting his level 1 coaching course so that he can help others learn how to fish.
Targeting new members
The club is very reflective upon its programmes and uses this to analyse what more could be done to improve the service they provide to their current members and engage with new members.
One of the areas the club is currently trying to improve is for people who are visually impaired or hard of hearing, as more specific activities could be provided for their type of disability.
Recently the club has also started to network with local organisations including the Percy Headley Foundation and South Tyneside College. The club wants to attract people from the college and foundation to the angling club, as they not only get the chance to learn how to fish, but the students can gain some life experience by volunteering during events and sessions.
John said, “The future of this club is with local networks so when people leave college, they are aware of our club and the opportunities for them to become full time committee staff, volunteers or coaches.”
The club is also attracting new members by investing in marketing material to promote the club more widely. For example, the club has recently received a bursary from us for t-shirts and beanie hats for all its members to publicise the club.
John finished off by saying, “Tyne & Wear Sport has been very beneficial for the club as they have sent me information about the different funding opportunities that are available, helping us move forward as a club.”
John spoke of high pride of the club’s message saying, “We don’t look at a person’s disability, we look at their ability. We forget about what they can’t do and put forward firstly what they are able to do. It’s a real pleasure to be part of this club.”
You can find out more about the club by visiting:
· Website: www.getfishing.org.uk
· Facebook: @Angling4All