New members the target on South Leeds Archers open day

South Leeds Archers marked their 20th anniversary year with a free open day at Cockburn School.

Adults and children beginners were invited to practice at short-distance targets with beginners’ bows while club members displayed their ability with shots from up to 100 yards.

The event aimed to increase exposure for the sport of archery and the club, which has around 70 members at present.

The chairman of South Leeds Archers, Chris Noble, said:

“It’s about giving back to the community. It always frustrates me that people don’t know that this is available.

“Archery is probably one of the most accessible sports there can be. Yes, there is a cost barrier. You need to buy your own equipment but there are lots of cheaper options you can use as a beginner.

“We’ve got wheelchair archers; we’ve got a lady who’s partially sighted who shoots with us. In the Paralympics you’ll see Team GB competing for the medals. It’s a very inclusive sport.

“We’ve got a couple of younger members who’ve got autism and autistic people may struggle with contact sports or sports that involve physical prowess, but archery is a level playing field.

“Our biggest challenge is retaining members. It can be a frustrating sport – sometimes it doesn’t go your way. For some people that can be a challenge.”

Paul Brandon, a member of the club for ten years, added:

“It’s nice to see the club continue, celebrate a milestone and get more people interested. We normally get a big spike in interest after the Olympics, especially after 2012.

“My son who’s shooting is 7 and you’ve got your granddads shooting. We’ve got disabled members – people in wheelchairs can shoot no problem.

“It’s something I enjoy. We tend to get a lot of people from IT who do this, I don’t know if it’s a similar mindset!”

One beginner was local resident Jacob Grimley, who said he’d “probably” come back after the open day to continue archery. “It’s fun to be competitive,” he added.

Another local resident gave positive feedback alongside her 12-year-old daughter, saying: “I enjoyed it! It’s not as hard as you think it is once you’re taught the technique. It’s good on flexibility and fits in with other stuff on a Sunday – you don’t have to be here for five hours!”

South Leeds Archers was founded in 1999 and is a non-profit organisation run by and for the members. The club was originally based at Corinthians Rugby Union club before moving to its current base at Cockburn School.