BRITISH BLIND SPORT’S SEE MY VOICE PROJECT OPENS FOR APPLICATIONS

British Blind Sport are continuing to support and develop young people with a bespoke inclusive leadership programme named “See My Voice”, putting young people at the heart of social change in sport. Young people aged 11-18 years old, living in England and with a visual impairment, are encouraged to make their applications now to join the second year of the project.

In 2016, British Blind Sport had an innovative idea to develop this inclusive leadership programme which supports young people with a visual impairment to become “Young Leaders”. See My Voice provides a free opportunity to bring together like-minded young people to make new friendships, enhance their skills and confidence, as well as provide a platform for them to share their experiences to develop more inclusive opportunities in sport. The programme has achieved above and beyond what was expected in its first six months.

During the first year of the project, we have ensured that every Young Leader is presented with choices and can follow a pathway tailored to their needs and wants.  As a result, over 300 sports volunteering opportunities have been sourced nationwide in a wide variety of roles, providing the Young Leaders with a large menu of opportunities to choose from.  This has enabled the Young Leaders to log over 400 hours of social action to date. The approach we have taken is based on understanding young leaders and affording the flexibility to add or cut back when it suits them.

In 2018, See My Voice has evolved to include an integrated reward and recognition scheme to aid in keeping motivation high throughout the period and offer volunteering hour goals beyond the original 50 hours target. Moreover, we will be introducing a buddy system with first generation See My Voice Young Leaders supporting the new recruits.

To date, the Young Leaders have been encouraged to play an integral part in shaping the “See My Voice” programme to align the project objectives more closely with what young people want. We do not believe you have to be sporty to be a good leader in sport, therefore we are encouraging anyone with goals to develop themselves and their skills to apply. It is not a requirement to be someone who excels at sport to become a “Young Leader”.

Kian Saville, aged 18, British Blind Sport Young Leader and Swim England Youth Advisory Panel member said, “This programme has enabled me to gain access to opportunities I wasn’t even aware existed. Since signing up for See My Voice, I have been interviewed on radio talking about sports volunteering, been successful in joining a national youth panel to champion disability swimming and pushed me to organise my own para-swimming group. It has challenged me and helped my confidence to grow.”

Lijana Kaziow, British Blind Sport Young Leaders Officer said, “See My Voice is centred around supporting our Young Leaders to achieve their objectives, in balance with their other commitments. We use volunteering in this setting as a vehicle to enhance skills and behaviours transferable to other aspects of their lives including school and future careers. For us, it is a privilege to help and see young people reach their potential through the opportunities we are organising with our partners.”

To find out more about the See My Voice programme or to apply to become a British Blind Sport Young Leader please click here. See My Voice is funded by Sport England and the #iwill fund.

Applications will close on Monday 22nd October 2018, with a view to the new Young Leaders starting their term in January 2019.

If you have any questions, please contact Lijana Kaziow, Young Leaders Officer, on 01926 424 247 or email lijana@britishblindsport.org.uk.