KiteRight, a Dorset-based charity which is changing people’s perceptions of disability has been given a huge boost, having been awarded a £15,000 grant from the UK’s largest Sport for Development charity, Sported.
KiteRight (www.kiteright.org) was founded in April 2012 by Bournemouth resident, Gary Hawkins, as the world’s first charity dedicated to using kite sports to help, support, educate and develop people with physical, mental health or learning disabilities. The organisation uses all forms of kite sports – land-based static, power kiting, land-based traction activities, such as boards and buggies, and water-based kite surfing – to help these individuals increase their self-worth, self-esteem, and act as a catalyst for change and achievement.
The £15,000 grant will be used to develop and grow the club and secure its long-term future, so that more young people with disabilities have the opportunity to access and participate in kitesports. To ensure the sustainability of the club in years to come, the funding will be used to employ a Development Coordinator, purchase new equipment, and train young disabled and non-disabled people as coaches and qualified paid instructors.
KiteRight works with young people from a breadth of different backgrounds, including mental health and substance misuse, and works closely with young people support charities and referral units. As such, a central point of coordination via a Development Coordinator is absolutely key in pushing forward the wider strategic aims for the charity. The grant from Sported will help the charity expand its stock of equipment and therefore expand the range of kite related experiences it is able to offer people with disabilities. The training programme has two main benefits: firstly, it will provide young disabled people with the opportunity to train as coaches, thus raising their skill level and qualifications and giving them real work experience for future employment. And secondly, by training coaches the club can deliver more sessions on a regular basis. In testament to KiteRight’s belief that kite sports can be used to help anybody with any form of disability no matter how severe, the charity has recently trained the world’s first paraplegic power kite instructor.
KiteRight has been working with the charity Sported since 2013. As a free membership organisation, Sported provides funding and business support to grassroots community groups which deliver Sport for Development – programmes which are aimed at transforming the lives of disadvantaged young people through sport. In addition to funding, KiteRight was also awarded the support of Sported volunteer business mentor and Wimborne resident, John Boyd. John has been working closely with Gary for the last seven months, using his expertise, knowledge and experience to support KiteRight overcome numerous challenges and help the group run in a more sustainable way. Part of this process was to develop a three-year business plan and apply for a large grant from Sported.
As a result of funding from Sported and the continued development of KiteRight, it is estimated that almost 500 different young people will directly benefit from the project over the next three years.
Gary Hawkins, Founder and Chairman of KiteRight, said: “At KiteRight we work with people with a wide range of needs and abilities. We’ve found that kiting really helps those people overcome their challenges, improve their quality of life and integrate back into the community. The support we receive from Sported and all our other supporters is greatly appreciated and we hope that we’ve laid the foundations for many more years to come.”
Hannah Colston, South-West Regional Manager at Sported, says: “It’s with great pleasure that we can award KiteRight this grant and support this wonderful project. Gary has put his heart and soul into getting the project off the ground, and it is testament to his vision and hard work that the charity has been able to attract such strong support. KiteRight is committed to breaking down barriers to participation and improving access to a sport that can be enjoyed by all. The investment of external funds and mentor support will give Gary and KiteRight the springboard needed to achieve great things.”
John Boyd, Sported volunteer business mentor, said: “After working with Gary and KiteRight, it is clear to me how well kite sports can be adapted for use by young people facing a wide variety of different disabilities and other challenges, and how well the resulting activities can change lives for the better.
He added: “Despite a time consuming and challenging job, Gary has achieved an immense amount in the first 18 months of operating the charity, in particular proving the concept, identifying volunteers, raising finance, gaining publicity and developing a referral base. I have every confidence that KiteRight, under Gary’s committed direction, will continue to grow and make a real difference to the lives of a significant number of young people throughout Dorset and the South West.”
Sported is a free membership organisation that supports thousands of inspirational groups and projects in the UK which deliver ‘Sport for Development’. These groups use sport to help disadvantaged young people fulfil their potential in life, by improving their education, health and well-being, and reducing their risk of becoming involved in crime and anti-social behaviour. www.sported.org.uk