By Jed Lanyon
Melbourne Gun Club in Yering are set to pull the trigger on new upgrades that will see the club provide better disability access for their shooters.
The gun club was one of five clubs across Victoria to benefit from the State Government’s Shooting Sports Facilities Program and is set to receive a grant of over $289,000 to provide essential upgrades for the club.
Melbourne Gun Club vice president Craig Henwood explained what the upgrades would mean for the club.
“It means we can update our facilities, we can put in a couple more disbaled spaces in our parking lot, we can provide more concrete paths and things to help promote disabled shooters to take up the sport.
“We’ll have a lot more concrete paths put into our layouts to make them more wheelchair accessible, including having automatic doors into the clubhouse to make things easier,” Mr Henwood said.
“It’s definitely needed, especially at the moment in winter time, we’ve noticed guys in their wheelchairs struggle to get to some of the layouts. They’ve got to get through some boggy grass, so it’s going to be really good for them to be able to access our layouts a lot easier.”
The grant will also see new toilet and shower facilities built at the club.
And despite coming in and out of lockdown and experiencing periods where the club can’t offer its services to members and keen shooters, Mr Henwood said things are looking up.
“We’ve actually broken what could be our membership record. We have over 500 members now this year. It’s the most we can find in our records going back 20 odd years and we’re really excited by that.
“Our numbers are up. We’ve held a few competitions where we’ve seen more and more people come out to compete, which is fantastic. In a year with Covid, where we can’t do too much, we thought our numbers might drop-off but it’s been the opposite which is really, really pleasing.”
Mr Henwood said a recent come and try day saw about 100 people come out to Yering to take up the sport for the very first time.
“Obviously Covid hasn’t been helping being open and then closed again like most businesses and we’ve also been recovering from bad flooding last month. All our layouts basically went underwater, but we were lucky it didn’t get into the clubrooms and shed.
“All our layouts had to be fixed up with their electronics, but we’re very, very lucky that a lot of members donated their time to help us, otherwise it would have been very expensive.”
Mr Henwood said it was “fantastic” for the club to recently host Australian Olympic shooter Laetisha Scanlan, who selected the club as her training facility in preparation for leaving for the Tokyo Olympics.
“Being an Olympian, she received special permission from the state government under the elite sports exemption, so she was able to still train during lockdown and she was able to go to one club to pick and she came to ours as we have the same trap machines that will be used in Tokyo.”