The Parallel Club has been launched by the British Paralympic Association ©BPA

The British Paralympic Association (BPA) has launched a new fundraising initiative called The Parallel Club.

Individuals who pledge to donate £10,000 ($12,000/€11,000) a year over the next four years can become club members and are given the opportunity to get closer to the team in return.

"The Parallel Club offers passionate individuals the chance to get closer to the team by joining an exclusive inner circle of just 30 supporters who together will make a transformative gift to assist our Paralympic athletes and inspire the next generation and, in doing so, help to change perceptions of disability in our society," the BPA said.

Founder members of the club include Nicholas Cheffings, who has been named as chair.

He was formerly global chair of Hogan Lovells, a gold partner of the BPA.

A launch evening saw sports broadcaster and journalist Clare Balding, who will serve as Parallel Club patron, interview British Paralympic stars including 14-time gold medallist Dame Sarah Storey.

Clare Balding interviews British wheelchair racer Kare Adenegan  ©BPA
Clare Balding interviews British wheelchair racer Kare Adenegan ©BPA

Dame Sarah, who competed in swimming before switching to cycling, was joined by equestrian's Natasha Baker, wheelchair racer Kare Adenegan and wheelchair rugby player Steve Brown, with the quartet all becoming ambassadors of the club.

"I spoke to so many amazing, thoughtful and dedicated individuals throughout the evening and was blown away by everyone's support for what the Parallel Club is seeking to achieve for our fantastically talented athletes and for those facing everyday challenges," said Cheffings.

"I am thrilled that we have already had individuals come forward to express interest in joining the club, and I can't wait for the momentum to build as we approach the [Tokyo 2020] Games next Summer. 

"I really believe that together we can make a difference."