Increasing sports opportunities for young people with sensory impairment

Post date: 
Monday, 9 January 2017
Young person participating in archery

A national disability charity is breaking down barriers so young people with sensory impairment can take part in physical activities.

Participation in sport has significant physical, mental and emotional benefits, yet over 300,000 people with dual sensory impairment in England encounter a number of complex barriers to take part. Sense is one charity aiming to break down some of those barriers through its Sporting Sense project.
 
The project aims to increase demand and opportunities for people with sensory impairments and complex needs to participate in sport and physical activity. It was made possible following a grant of £424,958 from Sport England.
 

To date, the project has already provided 177 individuals with the opportunity to get involved. Activities on offer range from multi-sports sessions, cycling and swimming, to rock climbing, dance and yoga. It is set to run until May 2018.

Sense’s National Sport Manager, Christie Moloney, said: “We believe the opportunity to participate in sport should be open to everyone. The grant has enabled us to increase our range of physical activities provided to allow more people to experience the benefits that sport provides. We are also working in partnership with other organisations supporting them to develop their own programmes. This will increase the demand and available opportunities for deafblind people to take part in meaningful sports activities.”
 
Sense currently runs weekly drop-in rock climbing sessions for people with sensory impairments and complex needs at Creation Climbing Centre in Birmingham. Generally considered an “extreme sport”, the charity works to ensure the sessions are adapted to each individual and it is hoped that the funding will allow Sense to establish more projects of this nature.
 
Christie continued: "Climbing provides a whole host of benefits over and above improving strength and fitness. It promotes balance, hand-to-eye coordination and sensory awareness, as well as the benefits of social interaction. Climbing is a tactile adventure; putting on a harness and helmet, being tied to a safety rope system, ascending a wall structure covered with holds, lumps and bumps.
 
In our sessions, it is important everyone is involved regardless of their abilities. Everyone wears a harness and helmet, and at least assists holding the rope to support someone climbing, which helps to ensure the activity is inclusive and promotes a team atmosphere. For many, it’s a new experience and simply being there is exciting. We have seen how just touching the climbing wall is enough to spark excitement and curiosity in some individuals.”
 

Sense Active sessions

All sessions are free to attend. Parents and carers are welcome to go along and join in too.
 

Birmingham – Sensory sports club

Friendly multi-sports sessions for young people aged 14 to 25. Participants will have the opportunity to try a range of activities including hockey, tennis, football, cricket and basketball.
  • Dates: Every Thursday 
  • Time: 6-7.30pm
  • Venue: Queen Alexandra College, Court Oak Road, Harborne, Birmingham B17 9TG
  • How to book: Places are limited – to book a place or for more information, please contact Callan Barber at [email protected] or on 07813 825 571

West Midlands – Adapted Cycling

Friendly adapted cycling sessions for people aged 14 and older. Participants will have the opportunity to try a range of bikes such as tandems, trikes, hand-pedalled and wheelchair-friendly.
  • Dates: Every Wednesday
  • Time: 11am-1pm
  • Venue: Tudor Grange Leisure Centre, Blossomfield Road, Solihull B91 1NB
  • How to book: Places are limited – to book a place or for more information, please contact Callan Barber at [email protected] or on 07813 825 571

London – Multi-sports

These multi-sport sessions are for people aged 14 and older. Participants will have the opportunity to try a range of sports including football, hockey, tennis, goal ball and cricket.
  • Dates: First block of sessions – Monday 9, 16, 23 and 30 January. Second block of sessions – Monday 6, 13, 20, and 27 February
  • Time: 6 - 7pm
  • Venue: New Barnet and Southgate, Learning Disability Centre of Excellence, Southgate Campus, High Street, Southgate, London N14 6BS
  • How to book: Places are limited – to book a place on the sessions, or for more information, please contact Peter Stone at [email protected] or on 077 87504237

London - Sensory sessions

These sports-themed sensory sessions are for people aged 14 and older. The sessions will be adapted to suit individuals’ abilities. Activities will include ball games to help develop hand-eye coordination and encourage movement, as well as interactive sports themed games utilising a projector.
  • Dates: First block of sessions – Saturday 14, 21, 28 January and 4 February. Second block of sessions – Saturday 11, 18, 25 February and 4 March
  • Time: 1-2pm
  • Venue: New Barnet and Southgate, Learning Disability Centre of Excellence, Southgate Campus, High Street, Southgate, London N14 6BS
  • How to book: Places are limited – to book a place on the sessions, or for more information, please contact Peter Stone at [email protected] or on 077 87504237
 
For an up-to-date list of sessions, please visit the Sense website.
 

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