Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

There are over 2 million people in the UK living with sight loss and more than 40,000 of these are children and young people. British Blind Sport (BBS) is the only impairment-specific national sports charity that represents blind and partially sighted children and adults across the UK in sport and recreational activities.

Since BBS was established in 1975, we have enabled more than 100,000 visually impaired (VI) people to experience and take part in sport and recreational activities.

It is our mission to help create a more inclusive society where everyone with sight loss has the same opportunities as sighted people to access an active lifestyle. At BBS, we know that sport serves as a powerful springboard towards greater opportunities, helping people to lead more active and independent lives which is essential for improved physical health, happiness and wellbeing.

Research shows that children with sight loss, despite having the same potential as their sighted peers, have much poorer motor skills and are far less likely to be physically active and involved in sport. BBS needs your support to change the lives of more blind and partially sighted children through sport.

From birth, children develop using their senses to learn new skills and imitate behaviour. A baby or young child with sight loss experiences the world around them in a completely different way and needs extra stimulation and specialist equipment to ensure they develop their fine motor skills.

Families raising children with sight loss are more likely to experience poverty, unemployment and social isolation whilst the cost of raising a child with a disability is estimated to be 3x more expensive than the cost of raising a non-disabled child. This makes it difficult for parents to access help or buy assistive equipment that a VI child may benefit from.

BBS has developed a project with VI children and their families that is aimed at improving young children’s motor skills and confidence within the ease, comfort and safety of their own home.

The ‘First Steps’ project is for blind and partially sighted children aged 18mths to 11yrs and supports the child and their family in their first steps in physical exercise by providing a free activity pack including adaptive equipment, information & one-to-one support from a First Steps Officer at BBS.

The child’s journey into sport begins when the ‘Jangles’ pack is delivered directly to their doorstep. This fun activity pack contains: a balloon, a customisable ‘Jangles’ ball with bells inside, a ball pump, a reward chart, tactile stickers and an activity booklet.

Children play with the ball both independently or with a friend/family member. The activity booklet has ideas for fun games and challenges that develop their motor skills progressively and the chart helps them to log their progress using tactile stickers to celebrate their achievements. This raises their self-esteem and confidence and encourages them to keep developing their skills further. By sharing this success with friends and family, relationships are strengthened and the child’s social skills develop as they spend more time together in a positive activity.

So far, we've helped 100 families in two pilot projects but we need your help to reach another 100 VI children who need our help. The results we've seen in children within just 6 months are incredible!

82% of VI children had improved motor skills and ability to catch a ball
85% were still using the activity pack after 6 months
100% of parents reported the pack as ‘beneficial to my child’
100% of VI children said they would try other sports at a BBS event

Every VI child involved in First Steps also receives free Junior membership of BBS which offers unlimited access to our events & services including Have A Go Days, the BBS Sports Finder service, monthly e-newsletters and sports-specific guides for their sports coaches and PE teachers.

British Blind Sport

Location: Royal Leamington Spa

British Blind Sport is a small, dynamic charity reaching more than 5000 children and adults every year with sporting events, projects and learning programmes. BBS has supported many people over the years who have gone on to become successful Paralympians & role models for future generations.

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