The greatest problem most disabled anglers face, is getting to and from swims with
their equipment, having parked their car. Other typical problems are swims that are
unsuitable and unsafe - due to slopes, overhanging the water and no safety kick stop.
Also lack of assistance if anything goes wrong and no toilet facilities within easy
reach. The WVDAA recognises most of the problems and is happy to advise other clubs
and fisheries on how to overcome them.
THE ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS
First requirement is a road or track, on the same level that, partly or completely
circles the lake or fishery, or runs parallel with a river, canal or stream, so that
every disabled angler can park right behind their swim. Second requirement is a flat
path to the swim from their car without any steep slopes, steps or drop-downs. Thirdly
all swims should be completely flat and on the bank, as opposed to platforms over
the water, which are extremely dangerous for any disabled person and often un-insurable.
Then, for the wheelchair user a ‘kickstop’ on the front of the swim some 4 - 6 inches
high. Fourthly any locks or bolts on access gates must be usable from a wheelchair
or by anglers with arm or hand disabilities. Advanced requirements would be lockable
gates to the fishery that would allow access without the angler having to get out
of the car and assemble and disassemble a wheelchair.
OUR OWN LAKE
It became obvious several years ago that the WVDAA need to have their own purpose
laid-out water. So a ‘Lake Project Fund’ was started and fund raising begun. However,
in the current political and economical climate things are slow and, despite several
attempts, no money for our association has been forthcoming from the Lottery Commission
or any organisation funding registered charities. We have raised around £16,000 ourselves,
but need to double this to give us a chance to apply successfully for a grant of
at least a further £200,000 to enable a water to be purchased.
Obviously the purchase of a water would be the first major step, followed by stocking,
then swim, road and toilet building, as indicated under requirements. The last phase
would be the building of purpose designed bungalows or chalets for the disabled,
so that disabled anglers could enjoy fishing holidays with their friends or families.
The holiday chalets would eventually be run to give the WVDAA a small return on its
investment and regular income for the charity.
CAN YOU HELP?
If you, your company or financial institution could help by donations, sponsorship,
underwriting or in any other way, please, please get in touch. Such a venture is
desperately needed for disabled anglers, And our plan as outlined here, would not
only benefit local anglers, but would also benefit a country wide community of anglers
and their families, disabled and able-bodied alike.