Aviva Community Fund – Why we are entering.
Birmingham Vision (BV) is a charity which works with blind and partially sighted people (BPSP), their families, carers’ and external agencies to increase wellbeing and confidence. We do this through a range of services including hospital support, social groups and accessible sports provision.
BV is looking to develop its sports provision to encourage more BPSP to get fit ahead of the cities commonwealth games in 2022. BV would like to develop more inclusive active leisure, which would be beneficiary lead through our BV Forum. The BV forum was set up in October 2018, with beneficiaries who will work to develop our strategy with trustees and staff as well as further develop our outcome and monitoring frameworks.
There are 8,624 (BPSP) in Birmingham and Sport England Active People survey, BPSP have the second lowest participation rates of all impairments groups. BPSP face barriers to sport and active leisure through cost, lack of confidence and safety concerns. BV works to address those through providing taster days for active leisure sessions for example sailing; linking with gyms to negotiate discounts and building confidence through peer support. Sport England state that 34% of BPSP report feeling unhappy or depressed. We aim to reduce these feelings by improving access to sport and leisure across the city.
BV has been delivering sports services in conjunction with local leisure centres, charities and Aston Villa Foundation. This partnership with Aston Villa resulted in BPSP taking penalty shoot outs at a home game during half time, to raise the profile of sight loss, and increase confidence for BPSP.
BV established the VI Sports forum, which brings agencies together to map and deliver more services aimed at BPSP. Working in partnership with the Birmingham Sight Loss Council, an inventory toolkit has been devised to assist gyms to work with BPSP to understand and improve accessibility in their local gyms.
Our project has directly helped 400 people in the last 12 months, to improve their physical wellbeing and confidence, people like Saqib.
Saqib was new to Birmingham and did not know what leisure activities where available to him in the city. Saqib was referred to BV for sport and recreational opportunities. Through working with our dedicated Sports Participation Coordinator, Saqib learnt about what sports are available to him and he got support with joining the sports clubs. Saqib regularly takes part in a wide range of sports like cricket, fishing and football and has improved his confidence in participating. Saqib has improved his fitness and has met lots of new people. “Sport enables me to fulfil my hobbies. Before, my weeks were filled with a whole lot of nothing and now I am playing sport on most nights.”
Our Sports program gives so much more that just sport, it increases confidence, reduces isolation, and promotes the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Through working with partners the program highlights the issues faced by BPSP, and works towards a society in which BPSP can fully participate.
BV listens to the voice of BPSP and through this has developed a female walking group and will develop a further walking group for all genders. These walking groups enable BPSP to access some of the 8000 acres of green spaces, parks and open-air gyms across the city. BPSP are also taught how to use the green space gyms, enabling them to access this area independently, something sighted people take for granted . During the summer BV offers outdoor cricket training, followed by indoor training in the winter months at Edgbaston; Fishing has become a popular active leisure activity along with Foot Golf which is football and golf combined, and builds players confidence and participation levels.
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