The UK’s leading sight loss charity, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and British Blind Sport have joined forces to launch the See Sport Differently campaign, which aims to promote accessible sports and breakdown barriers faced by blind and partially sighted people who want to get active.
According to research by RNIB and British Blind Sport over half of blind and partially sighted people are inactive (do less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week) and one in three said there were sports or fitness activities they would like to try but haven’t been able.
To launch the campaign, RNIB and British Blind Sport have released a series of emotive videos which set out the barriers faced by people with sight loss and celebrate their fitness journey by showing how they stay active by taking part in swimming, martial arts and adapted team sports such as Goalball.
In addition, the campaign has created an online hub which provides information and guidance on accessible sports and activities. This portal includes an interactive quiz where people can find out what sports and activities best suit them.
Alice Holloway, Strategic Programme Lead at RNIB said: “See Sport Differently is an exciting and energetic collaboration between two organisations that fiercely champion the lives of blind and partially sighted people.
“Over the last 2 years, we’ve been working with British Blind Sport to understand the barriers blind and partially sighted people face when they want to get active, and the impact this can have on their motivation to do so. Based on this insight, we’ve built a programme of activity to tackle the biggest barriers that stop people with sight loss getting involved in sport and activity.
We know there is a lack of awareness about how blind and partially sighted people can get active, as well as a lack of confidence and knowledge in the sporting sector when considering adaptive activities. That’s why we’re launching our new campaign, to tackle these barriers to participation by raising awareness around the need for more inclusivity in sport and fitness. We will also be working to ensure blind and partially sighted people have access to all the information necessary to find and fall in love with a sport or activity that works best for them.”
Alaina MacGregor, Chief Executive of British Blind Sport, said: “Our joint research found that more than half of blind and partially sighted people feel that having sight loss stops them from exercising as much as they would like. The findings emphasise the importance of raising awareness across the sector and ensuring that people who have lost their sight have access to accessible opportunities that enable them to live healthier and happier lives.
“Our new hub contains a variety of resources, activities and information that can help to remove some of the barriers to participation, provide positive experiences and encourage blind and partially sighted people of all ages and abilities to participate in sport."
The campaign, which is funded by Sport England and National Lottery, is a three-year initiative and has already received support for fitness icon Derrick Errol Evans MBE, widely known as Mr Motivator, who has created a series of free audibly accessible home workout videos.
He said: “Exercise is for everyone, regardless of age, weight, ability, or sight loss. Whether it is simple chair exercises or a cardio workout, there is something out there for everyone. And it doesn’t have to be challenging or hard work, it can be fun, exciting and energising! The important thing is to get started and do something.”
RNIB and British Blind Sport have received £1m in funding from Sport England to deliver the See Sport Differently initiative. Thanks to the players of the National Lottery, up to £600 million has been made available to support communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus crisis.
To find out more information about See Sport Differently and watch the full stories visit www.seesportdifferently.org.uk