A popular disabled sports club is celebrating after securing an £18,000 grant to improve its lakeside base.
Now Stoke-on-Trent Disabled Sports Association, which has more than 70 members, is hoping to expand its activities. Suggestions for the future include skeet-shooting and archery.
Regulars already enjoy socialising in the clubhouse, fishing in two lakes and taking part in a range of other pursuits.
But the old gates were heavy and difficult for disabled people to operate. It meant they were reliant on volunteers to help.
Association president Terry Crowe said: “Now we can just press a button. We can also set the gates to open and close at a certain time. It’s fantastic.
“We also have a junior section, so it has made it more secure for them.”
The club, which began life in 1982 as a disabled anglers’ group, has grown over the years and now caters for teenagers right up to people in their eighties.
“The site is used every day as a meeting point. For some of the chaps, it’s their contact with the outside world,” added Terry.
The 73-year-old, from Bucknall, has been going there for several decades himself.
He said: “It’s beautiful countryside. You wouldn’t believe it was under a quarter of a mile from Abbey Hulton. During the summer, there are kingfishers and there’s lots of wildlife.”
Founding member John Hulme, who is the association’s secretary, said the security improvements should make a big difference. The 73-year-old, from Bradeley, added: “We’ve been having fish taken from the pool. Hopefully, we’ll have no more fish pinched. And if we do, they will be caught on camera.”
Top stories on StokeonTrentLive
The association, which contributed around £4,000 to the improvements, applied to the city council’s community investment fund for support.
Deputy council leader Abi Brown said she was delighted they could help with the grant for £18,318.
She added: “The club is not only giving all members of the community the chance to enjoy fishing, but it gives people a chance to meet up, socialise and make new friends. I’d like to wish them all the best for the future.”