Rugby League joins forces with Actionnaires
Did you know that there are over 20,000 blind and partially sighted children and young people in the UK? Many of these children are socially isolated as a result of their visual impairment because they are not given the same opportunities as sighted children. Actionnaires,a project run by Action for Blind People is the largest sports project for visually impaired children and young people in the UK. Actionnaires enables children and young people aged 8—16 to try lots of different sports and activities i.e. athletics, football tag rugby judo etc. Actionnaires clubs are run by trained club workers and volunteers and usually take place at a weekend for 2-3 hours.
On Thursday 26th June at the Jon Charles Centre Leeds Actionnaires worked in partnership with Education Leeds to offer a taster session of sports for blind and visually impaired children and young people. On the day the 40 children and young people were given the opportunity to try out a range of sporting activities including Rugby League, Football, Jujitsu and Gymnastics.
Rugby League coaches ran three taster sessions for groups of blind and visually impaired young people offering a chance to develop their rugby skills, handling the ball, passing, throwing and running. It was clear that the young people involved were having a great time and joined in enthusiastically; some of them were already Rugby League fans and enjoyed chatting to the coaches about their playing experiences.
Chris Spurr, one the Rugby league club and coach development officers said:
“I thought the day was enjoyable and learned a lot from it especially about the different levels of visual impairment children have. The main advice/suggestions form the staff was to have a simple warm up to assess what level of visual impairment each child has then use drills that all children will be able to take part in and also which challenges them.
The children really enjoyed the rugby, even more than the other sports they had done that day. I think it is something that can be continued even in to game situations with the children who have the lower scales of visual impairment. Quite a few were very keen to get in to the physical side of the game!! It is something I would enjoy doing again in the future”
Mick Heptinstall Club & Coach Development Officer (CCDO) said:
“The coaching we did with the Actionnaires helped put into practice information and advice given on previous courses (working with disabled performers).
The young participants were keen to learn new skills and take part in Rugby League activities which were fun and had an element of competition.
This was a very rewarding exercise and hopefully some of the participants will continue and take part in the disability festival at John Charles Stadium later in the year. “
If you would like to know more about the Actionnaires multisports clubs in your area then see their website; www.