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Supporting blind and partially sighted people in athletics and running clubs

Approximately 10% of the population in England have a visual impairment.

How a person’s sight is affected by a visual impairment varies greatly depending on its cause, and where in the eye(s) or brain the visual impairment occurs. 

  • Total loss of sight 
  • A disturbance within the field of vision e.g. loss of vision from the lower half of your field of view, random loss of vision (patchy) from within the field of view, or tunnel vision. 

The age or stage of onset that the visual impairment occurs will influence the person’s physical, psychological, and emotional development.

Blind or partially sighted people take part in athletics and running alongside their sighted peers, some with the support of a guide. This could be to help orientate them before throwing or jumping, helping them identify a take-off board for jumps or supporting them whilst running. 

Making small changes to your club can help to welcome blind and partially sighted people and give them a great experience in the sport.

Key ideas

  • Provide club information in accessible formats such as using large font, adding alt text to describe images, and providing PDF documents in Word to support screen readers.

  • Make sure club volunteers such as coaches are knowledgeable and confident about supporting blind and partially sighted people. Provide them with training or guidance if needed.

  • Connect with local sight loss organisations who will be able to provideexpertise and signpost new members. Consider delivering taster sessions to help introduce people to your club.

  • Have a pool of guide runners available to support blind or partially sighted people if needed.

  • Provide information about the nearest public transport and consider a meet and greet service to make it easier for blind and partially sighted people to get to your club.

  • Give phone and email contacts for your club because not everyone uses email.

  • Consider a safe place for guide dogs with water and shelter.

Questions

Yes No
Are your coaches and leaders knowledgeable and confident in supporting blind and partially sighted people?
Great! Check out the other resources and collections in ClubHub to keep learning.
It’s important club volunteers learn how to communicate effectively and adapt activity for blind and partially sighted people to make sure everyone can take part and feel welcomed.
Do you have any links with local sight loss organisations?
Great! Those groups will be able to signpost new members and provide expert advice on how to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for blind and partially sighted people and adapt activity accordingly.
Why not explore local sight loss charities and get in touch? Sightline is an online directory of people, services and organisations that help blind and partially sighted people in the UK.
Is the information you provide about the club accessible to people who are blind and partially sighted?
Great! Providing information, which is accessible, improves the experience for everyone, not just blind and partially sighted people.
Consider ways you can make information easier for everyone to access. Whether that’s using larger font, changing the colour contrast, and providing audio descriptions or transcripts for videos. Small changes can make a big difference
Do you have any guide runners?
Great! Having a pool of guide runners means blind and partially sighted people can be supported to take part in your club straight away.
Consider having a pool of guide runners or supporting blind and partially sighted people to find them through the national Find a Guide database.
Do you have an inclusion policy?
Great! Hopefully everyone is aware of the policy and it’s reinforced through actions and behaviours.
An inclusion policy will help create a welcoming culture at your club for all. Why not use the template Inclusion Policy to create one?

Bitesize Videos

Play Video

Guide Running

07:22
Play Video

Find a Guide

02:03

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