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Published in Sports Management Aug 2016 issue 125
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Sport can play a role in improving lives of deafblind people

Ian Carpenter,

National Sport Manager,,

Sense


Sense is committed to making sure that deafblind people can live full, independent lives, which is why it’s so important to us that we can start creating pathways that open up the joys of sport and physical activity to the people we support.

The UK’s growing deafblind population are amongst the hardest to reach and most vulnerable in the disability sector, with an estimated 300,000 people with a combination of sight and hearing loss living in England alone.

Engaging in sport opens up a whole range of social benefits, such as increased confidence, a boost to self-esteem and the chance to make new friends, but for someone who is deafblind the barriers to participating in physical sport are often complex and difficult to overcome.

Sport can play a key role in improving lives and we’ve seen first-hand the effect physical activity can have on helping to reduce isolation and build community connections for those we support.

Senses such as touch and smell are heightened with the loss of sight and hearing, so for many deafblind people just the opportunity to encounter a new environment such as a sports centre, park or swimming pool can be an incredibly powerful and rewarding experience.

Alongside Sport England, deafblind charity, Sense, is working to deliver innovative programmes to increase the amount of sport and physical activity opportunities available to people with sight and hearing loss. We’ve been able to open up a range of different accessible sports activities, such as yoga, rock climbing, swimming and cycling, for deafblind people in London and the Midlands to enjoy. We’ve also been developing bespoke training workshops for sports coaches and support workers so that people feel empowered and equipped to offer sports sessions to people with sight and hearing loss.

Together we’re committed to making sure that the barriers that prevent deafblind people from being active are removed and that everyone is able to reap the rewards of sporting activity.

Touch and smell are often heightened in deafblind people
Touch and smell are often heightened in deafblind people
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