BELFAST — The Belfast Curling Club has received a $10,000 grant from the Waldo County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to broaden the reach of curling’s health and social benefits during Maine’s long winters.
“Founded in 1959, the Belfast Curling Club has long been integral to its community as an inclusive gathering place where people can share regular indoor winter activity, learn from each other, form friendships, and have fun,” said the Club, in a news release.
Hit by a one-two punch from closure due to the pandemic and then severe flood damage in the 2020-21 season, the Belfast Curling Club has completed its renovations and is back to promoting and teaching the unique sport to Mainers. This past season, the all-volunteer nonprofit introduced curling to nearly double the amount of people it has in previous years.
Curling is a lifetime team sport played by all ages and abilities. Available adaptive equipment allows people who may not have access to other sports due to mobility limitations to curl on equal footing with others not faced with those challenges.
Toby Atkins, a retiree who has curled for 17 years with his wife, and who uses adaptive equipment states: “Curling allows us to enjoy playing a sport together and with a diverse group. We were immediately struck by how we were welcomed, accepted, integrated with experienced curlers, and encouraged to grow with whatever skills we had.”
Following games, it is tradition for opponents to sit down together for conversation and food or drink. Both on and off the ice, curling builds community.
Five-year curler Robin Belek said: “I can’t express how much the curling club has positively influenced my life, for the physical health benefits, yes, but also because the club’s atmosphere and comradeship make it a safe and fun place to be, a welcome environment in the darkest of winter days.”
The Maine Community Foundation works with donors and other partners to provide strong investments, personalized service, local expertise, and strategic giving to improve the quality of life for all Maine people. To learn more about the foundation, visit www.mainecf.org.