The big story at Barnstondale this year has definitely been the completion of the Target Hub project. With the Hub now finished and proving to be a huge hit with our young visitors, why and how did the Target Hub project come about?

Some years back we asked our visitors what activities they would most like to see and they answered “Target sports, especially target rifles.” Why rifles? Some of our visitors struggle with the archery activity that we already offer; rifles are much easier to aim and fire if you have limited upper-body movement.

We wanted to see if we could offer target rifles as an activity and so we trialled a temporary rifle shooting area at the centre, to which the feedback was incredible. Our disabled visitors could participate with their able-bodied peers, which united them in their sense of achievement and competition. We also discovered that visitors with ADHD really benefited too, as it improved their concentration and coordination.

Having proved that target rifles was a a great activity, we needed a permanent facility and so the Target Hub project was born. There were obstacles along the way, chief among them being that such a Hub doesn’t come cheap. Considerable effort went into its design and fundraising, but we were determined to give our visitors what they asked for – and we did. The hub was completed this year, with the first groups using it in February 2019.

The hub is already making a huge difference to our visitors, like Scott who is one of our regulars at the centre. Scott loves the target rifles and was very excited to be able to use the new Hub. It made a huge difference to him, as he could get right up to the aiming benches in his wheelchair. This hadn’t been possible in the past, but we have designed the new range to be fully-accessible, with adjustable heights on the booths.

None of the project and the fantastic effects its already having could have happened without the sterling support of a number of funders, so we want to say a very big thank you to them. The Peter Harrison Foundation, Archibald Bathgate Group, Garfield Weston Foundation, Barbara Ward Children’s Foundation, The Boshier-Hinton Foundation and Wirral West Community Fund have all contributed to the Target Hub project and made it a reality. Thank you to each and every one of them and we hope they’re all very happy with the amazing results their funding has already had and will continue to have in years to come.

The Target Hub is still not 100% complete, however, as the Hub was designed for many potential uses beyond target rifles. Our plan is to have skittles, boccia and boules, just as soon as we can afford them and if you want to help make that happen then do please contact us on 0151 648 1412 or info@barnstondale.org.

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