USRowing have been awarded a grant to support their Freedom Rows programmes ©USRowing

USRowing has been awarded an adaptive sports grant for the sixth consecutive year by the United States Department for Veteran Affairs.

The grant will help to support USRowing’s Freedom Rows programme, a community-based initiative which is implemented across the country.

USRowing say this year’s grant of $500,000 (£384,000/€450,000) is the largest awarded to the organisation.

The governing body’s national programme is dedicated to changing lives for disabled veterans and members of the armed forces.

The project has received $1.8 million (£1.3 million/€1.6 million) in grants since its establishment in 2014.

"This year's adaptive sports grant award is a true testament to the work and dedication that our USRowing volunteers and coaches put in to sustain and move the Freedom Rows programme forward," said Deb Arenberg, USRowing manager of adaptive development.

"As we enter our sixth year, it is clear that Freedom Rows is achieving its goals.

"Veterans in our programme prove that people can change and improve their physical and mental well-being.

"We will continue to strive to provide the highest level of programming to meet the personal goals of every veteran with whom we work."

The Freedom Rows project initially began with six programmes during its first year.

USRowing revealed this has grown to more than 30 programme a year, with 1,000 veterans taking part annually.

USRowing say several participants in the programme have reached elite level competition ©USRowing
USRowing say several participants in the programme have reached elite level competition ©USRowing

It is hoped the latest grant will allow USRowing to expand the programme further.

"USRowing is fully committed to supporting our disabled veterans and members of the armed forces through our Freedom Rows programme," said Patrick McNerney, USRowing chief executive.

"We are proud to offer the opportunity to introduce rowing to disabled veterans across the country.

"It's exciting to see what a positive impact our sport can have on their lives, as well as the incredible impact our veterans have on boathouses across the country.

"The number of veterans participating in the programme continues to increase, and those veterans are having an impact on our sport from the local club level to the US national team level.

"We look forward to providing many more opportunities during the upcoming years."

The adaptive sports grants are aimed at increasing the quantity and quality of adaptive sports activities for disabled veterans and members of the armed forces.

Funding allows athletes to participate in physical activity within their home communities, as well as more advanced Paralympic and adaptive sports programmes at the regional and national levels.

USRowing say the funds will also been used to send qualified athletes to competition, purchase adaptive rowing equipment and supplement coaching fees, as well as expanding the Freedom Rows programme.

The national governing body added that several participants have reached elite level competition, including Russell Gernaat.

Gernaat featured as part of the US national team in 2019 and is targeting a place at next year's Paralympic Games in Tokyo.