Obesity and inactivity are two major challenges facing this country. To combat these issues, the government recommends 60 minutes per day of physical activity for children aged between 5 and 18 years old. However, only 32% of boys and 24% of girls are meeting these guidelines.
Many children with a visual impairment struggle with physical activity due to the lack of inclusive PE teaching and adaptive lessons at mainstream schools. With over 25,000 visually impaired children in the UK, there will be a large number who are at risk of obesity and inactivity. British Blind Sport is uniquely placed to solve this issue with our First Steps programme.
BBS are pleased to announce the expansion of First Steps across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
First Steps is a project conceived by British Blind Sport to empower and encourage children between the ages of 3 – 11 years old with a visual impairment to develop their early developmental movement skills and to become physically active.
Having trialled the project in Yorkshire, West Midlands and the North West with huge success, the project is now going national. We have the resources to help 450 families over 3 years and have designed an innovative pack to give to First Steps families with all the tools their children need to take their first steps towards leading a more active life.
The First Steps pack is completely free and includes:
- Audible ball: A bright and bouncy ball called Jangles with ball-bearings inside to allow the child to hear the ball.
- Activity booklet: Simple and enjoyable games that encourage the entire family to play together.
- Progress poster: Tracking each child’s achievements to encourage habitual behaviour with a fun sticker chart
- 1-1 support with the First Steps Officer
BBS’ aim is that the First Steps pack will help children learn the basics in a fun and supportive environment so that they can grow in confidence and capability and then be able to take their next steps to a healthy lifestyle by joining into activities and sports clubs in their local areas.
Feedback from a parent whose child has participated in the programme said, “My little one can now kick a ball, which he couldn’t manage at the start of this project. He can now confidently throw the ball very well and if close enough, he can catch the ball. This is amazing progress for my little boy.”
Another said, “Our daughter now attends disability football with Wolves FC after we learnt about it at the Have a Go Day. She also goes swimming and we had the confidence to move her from the toddler class to being in the pool with her own age group.”
Alaina MacGregor, Chief Executive Officer at British Blind Sport, is looking forward to seeing the impact that the project has across the nation. Alaina said, “First Steps is a project very close to our hearts at British Blind Sport and we’re so pleased to see it develop nationwide. It has had huge success in the areas it has previously been introduced to, with all members of the family benefitting from the unique aspects of the project. Siblings are able to play together more independently, parents are able to see a marked different in their child’s physical ability and children with a visual impairment grow in confidence and ability so much that they are able to join in with local, accessible activities, which they may not have felt comfortable or able to do before they met Jangles!”
Jane Jacobs, First Steps Officer, said, “I’m really excited to be taking First Steps nationally. It is a lovely project and we’ve already seen the difference it has made to the families in the regional roll out. Now, we get to meet and help families all across the UK and show them the difference that physical activity can have upon their child’s development and general happiness. I can’t wait to start meeting the families and help them take their first steps toward an active life!”
First Steps will be launching nationwide on July 10th
For more information about First Steps please click here to visit the First Steps webpage.
You can contact our First Steps Officer on FirstSteps@britishblindsport.org.uk or call 07957 719 251 with queries.
For press or media contacts, please contact our Communications Officer on Support@britishblindsport.org.uk