British Blind Sport partner with University of Central Lancashire and Thomas Pocklington Trust for important children research piece

British Blind Sport is pleased to announce a year-long partnership with Thomas Pocklington Trust and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to undertake research investigating the physical development rates of children with sight loss compared to their sighted peers.

The research project will explore whether any link exists between a child’s sight levels and physical health levels, including measuring motor skills. It will also look to identify the key reasons that explain any quantifiable differences. Finally, our research will aim to identify the impact that reduced physical health or motor skills rates may have on a child’s individual mental wellbeing.

The partnership between British Blind Sport and UCLan will aim to demonstrate the impact of sight loss on children through various research methods, namely literature reviews, physical development and motor competence research with participants, wellbeing questionnaires, interviews with families and interviews with sector professionals.

British Blind Sport is excited to be embarking on this research partnership, and confident that the results will prove valuable to all stakeholders who support people with visual impairments, especially those in the sport and sight loss sectors.

This research partnership is vital to not only measuring the suspected development differences, but also understanding why those differences occur. The project’s findings will provide much needed evidence to inform future interventions and ensure any inequalities can be reduced.

Matt Reeves, from the University of Central Lancashire said, “This is a fantastic opportunity to better understand how visual impairment and the development of motor competences potentially impact physical activity levels and the subsequent influence this has on social and mental wellbeing. This is a hugely important issue to better understand and we are pleased to be helping BBS drive forward such important work.”

Alison Oliver, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Projects, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting this research. It is so important that blind and partially sighted children are given the best opportunities to engage in activities that support their mental and physical wellbeing and this research will help shape the delivery of future services and interventions that support this.”

Logan Gray, National Partnerships Manager at British Blind Sport said: “We are extremely excited to be working with the University of Central Lancashire and TPT to undertake this important research to develop greater understanding of the potential impact that sight loss can have on the physical development and mental wellbeing of children. It will go a long way to informing the direction of our projects in the future, and helping us to understand the developmental needs of blind and partially sighted young people.”

For more information about the partnership, please contact support@britishblindsport.org.uk

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