Inaugural Festival of Sport for the Visually Impaired is a great success
Hosted by the Penarth Leisure Centre, an inaugural Festival of Sport for the Visually Impaired has been hailed a great success.
The Disability Sports Wales event was designed to allow individuals to try a range of team or individual sports in an informal atmosphere. It was organised by Linda Ruston, Disability Sports Wales development officer with the Vale of Glamorgan Council, in partnership with Paul Taylor and Simon Jones, her counterparts from Caerphilly and Merthyr respectively, and with Invaluable assistance from Action for Blind People.
Twenty-five participants, ranging from toddlers to retirees, attended from the Vale, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Torfaen, Newport, Cardiff, Pembrokeshire and Blaenau Gwent.
The event featured a range of 11 adapted sports comprising football, trampolining, cricket, bowls, archery, athletics, cycling, judo, boxercise and shooting. And the centre's Lifestyle gym was available free of charge to those aged 14 and over.
The UK has around two million people with a visual impairment, for example, a sight problem which cannot be corrected by wearing glasses, contact lenses or by eye surgery. Visual impairment conditions vary, inclduing macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataracts.
Attending the Penarth event were persons who are registered as totally blind to those having nystagmus (involuntary movement of the eye).
Linda said: "All said they had thoroughly enjoyed themselves."
Vale council cabinet member for tourism and leisure Cllr Gwyn John, who attended the event, said: "The council was very proud to host this inaugural and highly successful festival.
"I was delighted to meet many of the participants, volunteers and organisers who clearly enjoyed themselves. I would personally like to thank everyone who contributed to a wonderful and rewarding sporting opportunity.”
Linda said: “The festival offered individuals the opportunity to access and enjoy a variety of sports, build confidence and promote independence. We were delighted to see individuals from across the South Wales region and beyond and hope to build on these foundations.”
Simon Jones explained: “The coaches and volunteers were excellent. A lot of the children came from ‘Actionaires' which is a sports club for the visually impaired run by Action for Blind People who made an invaluable contribution.”
The programme was delivered by experienced coaches who provided information on how individuals can continue with a sport.
Speaking of the importance of such partnership projects, Wales Action for Blind People sports development officer Nicky Malson said: “The event allowed children to compete at all levels in a safe environment and was a great opportunity to forge links between my organisation, Disability Sports Wales, local authorities and The Federation for Disability Sports Wales.”
For further information on disability sport, please contact Linda Ruston on (01446) 704728 or visit the website at www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/disabilitysports.