17th April 2018
Goalball UK is launching its first National Schools Competition Programme, thanks to an unprecedented funding grant from BBC Children in Need. The grant of nearly £100,000 will support the delivery of after school goalball activities and competitive opportunities for children with visual impairments.
Goalball UK is the national governing body for the only sport specifically created for blind and partially sighted people. They aim to raise the profile of the sport throughout the UK, promote participation at all levels and achieve success on the international stage.
The sport has been awarded a grant of nearly £100,000 to deliver a new National Schools Competition Programme for blind, partially sighted and disadvantaged children and young people.
The programme will work with children aged under 11, all the way up to under 18s, improve coaching within schools and provide competitive opportunities through the new programme.
Mark Winder, Chief Executive Officer of Goalball UK, said:
“We’re thrilled to receive such a generous grant from BBC Children in Need and can’t wait to get this new programme under way. All too often visually impaired (VI) children and young people struggle to find challenging and enjoyable activities.
“70% of the estimated 25,000 blind and VI children in the UK are in mainstream school. But it is a sad reality that many do not have equal access to sport in school due to their additional needs – isolating them from their peers and denying them the skills, exercise and psychological benefits of team sport.
“We hope this new initiative will go some way to addressing this issue by making goalball accessible to both sighted and VI children in a school setting. As the sport is played with blackout goggles, anyone can participate, allowing VI and non-VI people to compete on an even playing field.”
“The ambition is to build on after-school engagement to create regional and, eventually, national tournaments so we can give disadvantaged children the chance to compete in world class venues.
“BBC Children in Need is an inspirational charity. I would like to thank them for believing in us and look forward to working with them to transform even more lives.”
Isabel Farnell, Regional Head of the North at BBC Children in Need said:
“It’s fantastic news that we have awarded new funding to projects like Goalball UK. Over the coming months, this project will work with disadvantaged children and young people in the local community to make a tangible and lasting difference to their lives.”
Goalball was originally devised as a rehabilitation programme for blind and partially sighted soldiers returning from World War II. Since then, the sport has grown in popularity and there are now 11 extra domestic tournaments on the annual Goalball UK event calendar.
For more information about Goalball and the new National Schools Competition Programme, visit Goalball UK website.