Active Humber worked with local partners to help identify groups and organisations that would most benefit from Sport England Tackling Inequalities Fund. They then helped broker relationships to successfully pool skills and resources to provide a fully inclusive environment for the visually impaired people of East Yorkshire.
Who did the Tackling Inequalities Fund (TIF) help?
Sight Support Hull & East Riding provide support to people with sight loss. Prior to lockdown they were organising regular walking and running groups for their service users to support their physical and mental health.
Why was the project needed?
During the first lockdown they had to stop this activity, which left many of their service users unable to undertake any physical activity. As lockdown restrictions eased, they were keen to be able to re-engage people back into physical activity but were unable to continue the sessions as they had been run prior to lockdown due to the vast number of people now using local parks and open spaces – meaning those with a visual impairment would find it more difficult to exercise safely.
How did TIF help?
Sight Support Hull & East Riding were successful with Tackling Inequalities funding to deliver walking sessions at local athletics track and supported by a local coaching provider who could support the individuals based on their needs. The closed environment meant numbers were monitored and the participants were able to exercise in a safe environment. Alongside these sessions Sight Support also set up outdoor tennis sessions which were also very successful in engaging local people with sight loss.
As a result of their hard work and support the organisation were nominated for and subsequently won the ‘Connect Award’ at the annual National Visionary Conference. The conference is for sight-loss organisations from all over the UK come together to network and share ideas. The nomination focussed particularly on our partnership with Fitmums and Friends – the local coaching provider, and how between the two organisations they had successfully pooled skills and resources to provide a fully inclusive environment for the visually impaired people of East Yorkshire.
Roy Turnham, Sight Support’s Social EYES Coordinator, who set the sessions up was very aware that the first lockdown had caused many of their service users to feel far more isolated, the activities not only helped to significantly improve their confidence, physical and mental wellbeing, they also attracted entirely new members.
Feedback from the sessions included:
"It’s difficult to explain but I thought I had very little future until I joined the group"
A new member who was struggling to come to with his recent sight loss has greatly improved his outlook through walking and chatting with other visually impaired people for the first time.
A lady had been forced to retire her guide dog just before lockdown, further adding to her isolation. The sessions have helped her build up her confidence, safely independently walking round the track with her cane.
The sessions have been that successful that as well as winning a national award, they have been awarded further Tackling Inequalities funding to continue and adapt and develop the sessions over the winter months.