Swimming star backs £2m centre bid

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A campaign for a new £2 million disabled sports centre in Mansfield could inspire a new generation of Paralympians in the town.

That is the message from Mansfield Paralympic swimming star Charlotte Henshaw, who is backing a campaign to raise money for a state of the art disabled sports centre at Portland College.

The massive fundraising target has been set by the college to provide a centre of excellence for disability sport and offer new opportunities from grassroots to elite level competitors.

Charlotte, 27 who clinched a silver medal in the 2012 London Paralympic 100m breaststroke final, said investment in new facilities would raise awareness and send the message that the town means business when it comes to disabled sport.

Charlotte said: “Anything to give people the opportunity for disabled people to get involved in sport and support them would be a great thing.”

She said disabled people generally feel quite separated from sport and a dedicated facility would help them get involved.

“A big part of what we did after London was letting people know there was sport for them no matter what disability they had,” She added.

“ Maybe we will be able to train the next generation of Paralympians in Mansfield, that would be quite something.”

“When I have visited the club it amazes me what some of the people that go there can do. To improve on that would be brilliant.

“More disabled clubs would be able to use the new facilities and new ones become formed. It could break barriers for disabled people getting involved in sport.”

Charlotte is taking part in trials and is hoping to qualify for the IPC European Championships in August.

To support the campaign, call Mansfield 499181 or visit www.portland.ac.uk