A NEW rowing boat which can be used by people with various disabilities is set to be launched at a borough rowing club tomorrow (Thursday, September 1).

Access in Dudley, an organisation which looks at access issues for all, but particularly for those with a disability, has secured a £10,000 grant from Sport England to buy a stable quad rowing boat, which can be used with sweep or skull oars.

The first boat of its kind in the Black Country, it will be used primarily to give local people with disabilities the opportunity to learn how to row.

Dudley Rowing Club is working in partnership with Access in Dudley to provide the sessions.

The boat, named AID1 in honour of the organisation that secured its funding, will be launched by the Deputy Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Dave Tyler at Netherton Reservoir, the home of the rowing club from noon to 2pm.

In keeping with the Black Country tradition, the boat won’t be launched with champagne but instead with officially brewed real ale from Netherton’s famous Ma Pardoe’s.

Councillor Dave Tyler, Deputy Mayor of Dudley, said: “It’s a real honour to be involved in the launch of this boat and what better way to do it, than breaking with tradition and officially launch the boat with the borough’s famous real ale.”

Tina Boothroyd, chairman of Access in Dudley and Dudley Rowing Club, said: “Following Team GB’s success on the water at the Rio Olympics, we’re absolutely delighted to have secured this funding.

“It will give local people, who may have thought learning to row was not an option for them, the opportunity to get out on the water and enjoy a new sport.

“I would like to thank Sport England and everyone at Dudley Rowing Club for their support.”

The bid to Sport England has been supported by Netherton Water Sports Centre, Dudley’s Council public health and British Rowing.

Councillor Rachel Harris, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “It’s really important we do all we can to support people of all abilities to get involved in sport.

“AID1 is a great addition to Dudley Rowing Club and I hope it will encourage more and more people to give rowing a go.”

During the launch event, Dudley Rowing Club will also be presenting a cheque of £685 to Rape Crisis following a fundraising land row in support of the Square One Atlantic rowing team and its local member Lee Felton.

Anyone interested in getting involved and learning to row in Access in Dudley’s new boat, or for more on Dudley Rowing Club, should visit www.facebook.com/DudleyRowing.