By Logan Gray, British Blind Sport
British Blind Sport is a charity that prides itself on making a visible difference through sport and physical activity as we know that taking the first step into participating in a sporting or recreational activity can change lives for the better.
At British Blind Sport, we help blind and partially sighted people get active and play sport. Sport and recreational activities can enhance the lives of people with visual impairments, by improving their health and increasing their social interaction. We encourage adults and children to participate in activities at all levels, from grassroots to the Paralympic Games.
We offer an extensive database of the UK’s sporting opportunities for VI and blind people allows us to provide an advocacy service. Taking over 10,000 calls, social media messages and e-mails throughout the year, we provide an advocacy service that connects VI people and others to sport. If you are a VI person thinking about taking up sport for the first time or you want to find out what other opportunities might be available British Blind Sport can help you to do so.
We provide sight classification to members enabling full eligibility to compete in all nationally recognised visually impaired events/competitions. By classifying a person’s sight we can ensure that there is a level playing field to allow participants to fairly compete against those with similar levels of sight.
The majority of these 80 competitions and events are led and arranged by volunteers who are often visually impaired BBS members, representing our sports sections. In addition to this ongoing work we are facilitating a large programme of free sporting taster events taking place across the country. To find out if there’s an event near you soon please visit our website.
Find a Guide is a service supporting VI people to find trained guides to run in a safe environment. In partnership with England Athletics, our database allows VI people to find fully trained guide runners in a safe and efficient way. All guides are trained to have a general understanding of sight loss and how to support VI people to ensure a good running experience. To find and select a local guide you can access the Find a Guide database.
We work closely with national and county sporting organisations and VI support organisations to provide free technical support and advice to ensure that any sporting programmes offered for VI people are fully inclusive and safe for participants and to extend and promote the national offer of sporting opportunities available for visually impaired people. We work to provide coaching, taster days and talent spotting sessions to give VI people the sporting opportunities they deserve.
British Blond Sport is at the forefront of developing research and insight into VI sport participation. We use this information to develop our services and projects as well as advising other organisations on the needs of VI people in sport.
Working closely with the education sector and National Governing Bodies, we have created a catalogue of sport specific educational resources with over 3,000 distributed to sports providers per year. These resources offer guidance to adapt sport for VI people and ensure no one with a visual impairment is denied the opportunity to join in and play. In addition to our generic resource named “A Guide to Visually Impaired Friendly Sport” we also offer resources in the following sports: athletics, football, swimming, judo, equestrian activities archery and shooting. These can also be found on our website.