Celebration of dreams

For three decades, dedicated volunteers from the New Horizons Club have been helping Tasmanian people living with disabilities achieve their dreams.

Milestone: New Horizons Club’s ambassador Don Elgin with his wife Denise and New Horizons manager Belinda Kitto. Picture: Paul Scambler

The organisation, which is based in the North of the state,offers sport and recreation programs to its members.

Founded by Robyn Hanson in 1986 New Horizons was taken over by her daughter, Belinda Kitto, ten years ago.

Since its beginnings, the club has grown from 12 members to 360 in 2016.

The club’s ambassador, world champion paralympian Don Elgin,said the organisation gave its members the opportunity to “have a crack” at life.

“Ilike more than anything, the comradery it offers. It is a pretty unique and special program,” he said.

“They don’t necessarily need to be a champion but they can feel like one if they get out there and get the results they want.”

Born without the lower part of his left leg, Don has overcome his own challenges to become the champion athlete he is today.

Now a motivational speaker, he said he was proud to be part of an organisation such as New Horizons.

“[The club] ispeople who genuinely have an interest in helping others,” he said.

“The focus on abilities as opposed to disabilities is paramount and it’s about putting people first. Those people wouldn’t have the life opportunities they doif it werent for organisations and volunteers like at New Horizons.”

Ms Kitto, now the club’s manager, celebrated its 30thanniversary on Friday andsaid she couldn’t be prouder of what the team had achieved.

“It’sreally exciting that we have gotten to this point,” Ms Kitto said.

“It’s a really special occasion to be able to get the team together and celebrate what we do.”

With another major milestone reached, Ms Kitto said there were exciting times ahead for the club.

A state team will take part in the futsal nationals in Sydney in January and for the first time the club will send a Tasmanian team to the outdoor cricket nationals in Geelong.

“It’s a really busy time for us and we’ve got some very excited athletes going away forthose trips,” she said.

“We’ve also got lots of other projects on the go and working towards the programs being delivered statewide.”

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