In 1999, BC Wheelchair Sports identified a need to support athletes who had been introduced to wheelchair sports while in rehab but needed an extra push to fully become involved in a sport. The Bridging the Gap program, originally headed by Sian Blythe, was born. In the past 10 years, what started as a provincial initiative has now gone Canada-wide. Bridging the Gap now introduces hundreds of athletes across Canada to wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby.
The goal of Bridging the Gap is to eliminate the gap between people's introduction to wheelchair sports and their continued involvement in physical activities. Bridging the Gap hosts sport-specific Have a Go days where participants can try certain sports in a fun, supportive atmosphere. Current wheelchair athletes volunteer their time to demonstrate sports and answer questions that participants may have. Developmental programs are in place so that interested athletes can continue to participate. Bridging the Gap also offers human resources support and financial support for development programs. Junior programs, peer mentorship and leadership training are also available.
Here is a slideshow of some Bridging the Gap events in BC: