Does your visually impaired child dread their PE lessons in mainstream school, is it hard for them to access clubs in the community and be fully included? Or do you have a VI child who enjoys sport and wants to be more involved? Catch up on this Parent Support Group panel session on Positive Participation in Sport for VI Children and Young People.

Our Parent Support Group teamed up with British Blind Sport to offer this free, online information session for parents and carers of visually impaired (VI) children and young people. We were joined by a brilliant panel (scroll down for their profiles). Thank you to all who were involved.

Workshop notes & links

Links & resources for Positive Participation in Sport (Google Doc)

Top Tips on Positive Participation in Sport (Google Doc)

Workshop running order (Google Doc)

Thank you to our brilliant panel for your input in this workshop.

Screen shot from the workshop. From left to right starting from the top - Jane Ring (LOOK), Vicky (BBS), Warren (LOOK Mentor). 
Second row l-r: Nathan (LOOK Mentor), Jo Lomas (LOOK), Dan (Paralympic Gold Medallist!)
Third row: Gwennan (Goalball Wales), Frankie (BBS)

The panel

Frankie has played and coached VI tennis since losing her sight in 2015. 

Vicky has recently joined the team at BBS to take forward new and initiatives and established links across the visually impaired community within the UK to grow participation in sport. She is heavily involved with developing and coordinating their ‘Have A Go Days’.

More about Vicky and Frankie

Gwennan, a VI mum, will share how she and her daughter Catrin (both visually impaired) are involved in the South Wales Goalball team, and all the positive benefits it brings. 

Nathan, a LOOK Mentor, and founder of Blind Ice Hockey UK, will talk about his love of the sport, keeping fit, and attempting to form a national team. 

Warren, another LOOK Mentor passionate about sport, will talk about the many sports he is involved in, strength training, and ways to access the gym. 

More about Gwennan, Nathan and Warren

Star guest!

We had an exciting last minute announcement that we would be joined at the end of the session by a Paralympic Gold Medallist. Dan Pembroke reflected on what achieving this as a visually impaired athlete means to him personally, the other panel members’ contributions and shared advice to the parent carers who attend the session.

Watch Dan Pembroke throwing the javelin and winning his Gold Medal at the Tokyo Paralympics 2020.

Dan throwing a javelin, wearing his Great Britain vest with PEMBROKE across the chest.

Scroll down to the end of this post for photos and more about our panel members.

Event details

During the information session panel members shared practical tips on how to help your child enjoy and progress in VI sports, and information on how to find what is available in your area. 

From blind football, goalball, running, athletics, karate, cricket, to swimming and surfing, access to any sport should be possible with the right knowledge, attitude, equipment, and training. We know sport can be adapted to fully include blind and partially sighted people. Sometimes the best experiences are when VI young people can compete with and against others with VI on a level playing field. 

Panel profiles

Nathan Tree

Nathan grew up playing ice and roller hockey but stopped when he was registered severely sight impaired at the age of 26. He found blind ice hockey in 2018 and has travelled to Canada, Finland and USA to participate in tournaments and training camps. He founded Blind Ice Hockey UK in 2019 to offer blind and visually impaired people across the nations the opportunity to participate in the sport he loves.

Nathan playing ice hockey in full padded gear, helmet with face grill protector.

Warren Wilson

Warren lost most of his sight at 19. He went on to become one of the founding members of the Cambridge Dons Goalball Club and was selected to train with the GB Goalball squad. He has also been involved in VI Tennis, road and track tandem cycling, skiing and VI cricket.

Warren playing goalbal - he has one knee bent forward, the other bent back almost on the ground. He is wearing knee and elbow pads and eye mask and has a ball in his right hand read to throw.

Gwennan Young

Gwennan Young and her daughter Catrin are Goalball players from South Wales. Gwennan has been visually impaired since birth and found non-inclusive attitudes of sports teachers at school left her feeling negative about sports as a whole. Gwennan wanted her daughter to have a better experience in sports. They discovered GoalBall! The duo are actively involved in their local club in South Wales where Gwennan is Co-Chair and her daughter is one of the club’s star players.

Gwennan and Catlin wearing their red kit tops with numbers 3 and 7 respectively, and a logo with a red Welsh dragon. They both have long brown hair and Catlin has a goalball eye covering resting on her forehead.

Daniel Pembroke MBE 

Dan won Gold in the T13 javelin throw at the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo (held in 2021). He was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa when he was six and his eyesight became further impaired during his twenties.

More about Dan here on the British Athletics website:

Parent Support Group

Our free, fortnightly peer-led Parent Support Group is a safe place to meet others and talk about the issues our visually impaired children face and share solutions that others in the community have found. The group is organised by Jane Ring, Parent Support Officer at LOOK. Find out more in the link below.

https://www.look-uk.org/parentsupportgroup/