By Debbie le Quesne

Tight lines in tough times

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I’m sure we have all heard the stories of “the one that got away.” Fishing is the UK’s biggest participating sport, so why shouldn’t our adults with learning disabilities be encouraged to see if they can bag a trophy or two in this much-loved pastime.

Wetlands Animal Park in Retford, Nottinghamshire, recently hosted what’s believed to be the UK’s first fishing tournament for this group of people along with those who have acquired brain injuries.

Organised by Voyage Care, a leading social care provider, the event attracted competitors from as far afield as Taunton, Burnley and Peterborough. Wow!

The trophy went to Ben Mill from Chard Manor, a Somerset care home run by Voyage Care, whose overall catch weighed an impressive 26lb.

And congratulations were also in order for Craig Butcher, who lives at Voyage Care’s Hall Farm property in Doncaster, after he succeeded in hooking the biggest fish of the tournament – a 9lb 5oz carp.

Isn’t this a lovely tale? No fishy business (excuse the pun), a whole lot of fun and, most importantly, the fact that a bit of creative thinking enabled these competitors to be included in a society where funding cuts threaten to marginalise them.

The tournament was the idea of Roger Stocks, a keen angler and the manager of Hall Farm residential home.

In an article on the Care Industry News website, Roger is quoted as saying: “To the best of my knowledge this is the only fishing competition of its type in the UK and we wanted to create an event that was not only fun, but that also encouraged participation and promoted a sense of achievement.

“Without doubt, it was a really rewarding experience for everyone that took part and the feedback we’ve received has definitely inspired us to organise a bigger and even better tournament next year.”

I applaud you Roger for your efforts in making this happen in such tough economic times. With the closure of many day centres – a real lifeline for many of these people – it’s wonderful to know that someone is making time to engage them in such a way.


Written by debbielq

October 16, 2012 at 7:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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