Firs Park Lake Anglers
To find an effective way of regularly engaging with a large group of ‘hard to reach’ older men in the Leigh West area.
Following approval to fund and run a fishing match at Firs Park Lake - coarse and carp waters situated less than a mile from central Manchester that had fallen into disuse and disrepair - the plan was for the event to create enough publicity to attract men over 50 in the Leigh West area to sign up for regular fishing sessions and coaching.
Before this could all be organised, however, Leigh and District Angling Association had to prepare Firs Park Lake so it could be used. The work – which mainly involved cleaning up the fishing pegs – took some time to complete as the lake had not been fished for some time. The match was then organised and publicised, mainly by putting up posters in the local area, and via word of mouth. Local organisations also contributed by promoting the contest in their shops and offices, and collecting names of interested participants.
Prizes took the form of vouchers and fishing equipment from the local tackle shop. Ambition for Ageing funded the purchase of these, as well as for the Leigh and District Angling Association to provide ongoing coaching to people who had never been fishing before but wanted to start, in order to attract more people to the venue.
WHAT'S GOT BETTER
Now that it the lake has been fully restored as a feasible fishing venue, the local angling community is being encouraged to re-engage it, and to recognise that is is a valuable community asset and recreational location.
Health benefits are also being enjoyed - fishing is known to improve balance, strength and co-ordination. It also encourages bonding, new friendships and confidence - all of which contribute to reduced social isolation.
Today the lake is fully accessible and the fishing pegs are easily reached by mobility scooters and wheelchairs - as demonstrated by three of the competition entrants who were able to ride on their scooters direct to the side of the lake and join in the contest.
The coaching sessions being run by the Leigh and District Angling Association are proving very popular, and encouraging lots of new recruits.
Firs Park Lake had not been regularly used for fishing for a number of years and considerable preparation was required to make it functional. Time and funding had to be factored into our programme to take account of this.
More sponsored tournaments are planned to encourage existing anglers and to attract new faces onto the coaching courses.
Ambition for Ageing Coordinator
T: 01942 615895