On Wednesday 24 May 2023, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and British Blind Sport (BBS) launch a new participation campaign. ‘See Sport Differently’ aims to tackle the biggest barriers that stop blind and partially sighted people enjoying sport and physical activity.
In a series of emotive videos, the ‘See Sport Differently’ campaign shares the real stories of blind and partially sighted people who have overcome the many hurdles that often prevent them from getting involved in sport and physical activity.
RNIB and British Blind Sport have created an accessible online hub to provide information and guidance on accessible sports and activities and how blind and partially sighted people can get involved. This portal includes an interactive quiz where people can find out what sports and activities best suit them.
The campaign also sets out the barriers faced by people with sight loss and celebrates their journey to get involved and stay active by taking part in swimming, martial arts, and adapted team sports such as Goalball.
Derrick Errol Evans MBE, widely known as Mr Motivator, who is supporting the campaign with a series of free audibly accessible home workout videos 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.”
Tony (pictured above in yellow t-shirt), who was registered blind at 36 years old and found it a struggle to find ways of staying fit, said:
“That feeling of being able to run for the first time in years is indescribable. The emotion – going home floating on air and believing again!”
Vivienne Francis, RNIB’s Chief Social Change Officer, said:
“See Sport Differently is working to get more blind and partially sighted people actively participating in physical activity and improve understanding of sight loss across the sports sector.
“Unfortunately, our research shows that one in three blind and partially sighted people said there were sports or fitness activities they would like to try but haven’t been able to.
“The accessible online hub that RNIB and BBS have created will pinpoint the local activities that already exist for people with sight loss to get involved in. Creating positive wellbeing through fair and equal participation in physical activity and the opportunity to experience sport in an inclusive way is one of the key priorities of this campaign.”
Alaina MacGregor, Chief Executive of British Blind Sport, said:
“We are delighted to be working with RNIB on See Sport Differently. 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, funded by Sport England and National Lottery, seeks to address findings that over half of the blind and partially sighted population are inactive (do less than 30 minutes of physically activity a week).
This participation campaign forms part of the See Sport Differently programme. A three-year initiative run by RNIB in partnership with BBS that aims to tackle the biggest barriers for blind and partially sighted people within sport and activity and motivate more people with sight loss to get moving by highlighting the benefits of physical activity. The campaign also aims to demonstrate that sight loss doesn’t need to be a barrier, and anyone can start their journey to getting active.