Local MSP Brian Whittle is spearheading a campaign to find new sponsors for Ayrshire’s only powerchair football team, the South Ayrshire Tigers.
Established in 2015 by South Ayrshire Council & South Ayrshire Access to Sport, the club has grown to have 12 full time members, the youngest of whom is just 12 years old. Players can either compete by having special bumpers attached to their own wheelchairs, or for more serious competition, players use specially modified chairs tuned to be faster and more responsive.
The club aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities living in Ayrshire. This is achieved through social inclusion for players, carers and families as well as confidence building and giving players the chance to experience competitive sport.
James Doull (South Ayrshire Tigers Team Captain) said:
“Being part of the tigers means I now have a social group of like-minded friends, goals to achieve and the opportunity to continue to grow and improve my skills to play for Scotland.”
The Tigers are currently competing in the Scottish Powerchair Football League Premier ship sponsored by Muscular Dystrophy UK. The league is run by the Scottish Powerchair Football Association and the tigers are in with a chance of lifting the title this year. Away from the league, the Tigers have also played host to a team of local MSPs, including Brian Whittle and last year they visited the Scottish Parliament.
Adam McGovern (South Ayrshire Tigers Head Coach) said:
“It is thanks to the effort and extra time dedicated by the players, their families and carers that the Tigers have grown from a weekly training session to a team that competes in the Scottish Premiership. The Tigers are a popular team with a growing reputation in the UK. They are highly regarded by rival players and coaches for their positive attitude and model sportsmanship shown at matches. They are a team of people I am very proud to coach”.
Now the club needs to find sponsors to cover their costs if they want to compete in the league next year. They are also hoping to compete against other teams across the UK in the future. South Scotland MSP Brian is getting the word out to local businesses who might like to help out. And, in his own show of support, former Olympian Brian will be running the Roon the Toon 10K in Kilmarnock, and taking part in the Ayr Running Festival to raise funds for the team.
Brian Whittle MSP said:
“The South Ayrshire Tigers are a great example of how sport can break down barriers and change lives. Having played against them with a team of MSPs (and lost spectacularly), I know how much effort they put in and it’s great to see them challenging for the Premiership title this year.
If you think your business might like to sponsor the team for next year, and hopefully beyond, please contact me at Brian.Whittle.MSP@parliament.scot and I’ll put you in touch with them.
Also, anyone who’d like to support the Tigers by sponsoring me can visit – https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/brianwhittlemsp
Comment from South Ayrshire Tigers PFC:
“Brian Whittle has been a great support to South Ayrshire Tigers by coming along to matches to cheer us on and he has even raised the awareness of powerchair football at the Scottish Parliament. We are looking for sponsors to support us financially over the coming years. This would enable the club to continue to compete in the Scottish Powerchair Football League and also allow some of our players to represent Scotland at home and abroad. We currently don’t have enough funding to be able to compete next season. We are also hoping to create a second team so that everyone in Ayrshire who has a disability (and can play in a powerchair), has a chance to play at elite level. Annual costs include the following: van hire and fuel, van and chair insurance, chair repair and maintenance, new strips and tracksuits, league registration. If you would like to get involved and support a great local team or just want to try the sport please get in touch.”