Funding from Sport England’s 2022 Commonwealth Games Fund has funded the purchase of two pairs of adaptive oars for limited mobility rowers. The two sets of oars now enable up to 10 more people per week to enjoy rowing. 

Volunteer-led Pengwern Boat Club in Shrewsbury, Shropshire has been offering adaptive rowing for 10 years.  The club recognises that anyone can get involved in rowing, regardless of physical ability, sensory or learning impairment

Rebecca, a wheelchair user, has described her experience of sculling (single person rowing):

“To be this close to nature is thrilling and something I have longed for during the 20 years I've been in a wheelchair. To be able to do so using only muscle power and the cooperation of the boat is exhilarating.”

“There is so much about rowing I enjoy. Being pushed away from the pontoon always gives me a thrill of anticipation. The sense that my body is working hard to create the momentum to move over the water. And yet there is a deeper reward than just physical activity, such as independence and an emotional outlet.”

Watch a video of Rebecca rowing with Colin, one of the club’s volunteers:

The club are aware of the many benefits to being involved in rowing; learning new skills whilst keeping fit and healthy, improved mental wellbeing, the sense of freedom and making friends.

The club’s offering (squad) began through links with the Spinal Injuries Unit at the local, yet nationally renowned, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, Shropshire.

Most of the squad's rowers have been wheelchair users but have included a military service veteran with above-knee amputations, plus other rowers with Multiple Sclerosis and Dementia. Three of the rowers have been involved in national para sport squads: in triathlon, rowing and kayaking.

Photo of adaptive oars in comparison to standard oars.

The club has special equipment for adaptive rowing and 10 volunteer coaches and launch drivers who support the squad. The sessions for adaptive rowing are currently on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. The two sets of oars now enable up to 10 more people per week to enjoy rowing. They are used with a double sculling boat enabling a person with limited mobility and a volunteer to row together which is an expansion of their previous offer of single sculling.

Please visit the club’s website for more information.