The Torch Trophy Trust winds up their affairs with a generous final donation of £7942.05 to support young volunteers in sport.

British Blind Sport is delighted to announce they have received a donation of £7942.05 from the Torch Trophy Trust in support of the BBS project ‘See My Voice’.

The See My Voice (SMV) project was developed following feedback from young people with visual impairments (VI) explaining that they felt frustrated and were often not ‘seen’ by people in authority, such as doctors or teachers, and felt that ‘as they cannot see, others often do not hear them’.  See My Voice empowers Young Leaders to volunteer in sporting roles, develop life skills, and enable them to share their opinions and experiences to help shape the sporting landscape for VI people, utilising sports volunteering as the vehicle for change.

Established in 1962, for over fifty years the Torch Trophy Trust has provided recognition and support to volunteers in sport across the UK.  The trust’s Founder, Commander Bill Collins, believed the Olympic ideal, symbolised by the Olympic torch, could inspire men and women working quietly in their own small corners of the world of sport.

“The Torch Trophy Trust decided to wind up its affairs in early 2019.  We were established in 1962 to promote and support volunteers in sport across the United Kingdom.  Happily, the role of volunteers in sport has become widely recognised among the governing bodies of sport and more widely across the public, leading us to the decision to conclude that our job was done.  Under our original deed, we were in such circumstances permitted to transfer any residual funds to another charity working in a similar field.  Our Trustees were happy to agree that these funds should go to British Blind Sport, whose work with blind and partially sighted people is in close accord with our own objectives as a Trust.  We wish the beneficiaries at British Blind Sport the very best for their success from the support programme.”

Paul Dimond CMG, Former Chairman of the Torch Trophy Trust

SMV Case Study 1: Kian Saville

Kian is a VI swimmer with realistic ambitions to represent ParalympicsGB at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.  Kian is also an SMV Young Leader and has dedicated his time to racking up over 100 hours of volunteering – which has included qualifying as a timekeeper and also beginning his own para-swimming squad, with great success.

“I swim six times a week and am in the Swim England talent programme for Tokyo 2020 potentials, so I’m always training, but I wanted to see how I could help local communities a bit more through sport.  “I didn’t get much help when I first started out swimming because not a lot of people knew about the para side.  But, experiencing it for myself, I can probably help people learn what to do if they are struggling.  So I may only have one para-swimmer currently, who I’m helping to train, but they went to the Midlands regional gala recently, their first gala, and they won five gold medals.  It was just amazing, with the smallest amount of help from me – passing on what I’ve learned from my own coaches – was a great experience and was great to give something back.  I like to challenge people to their limits and if they come out fighting then you know something’s going well.”

Kian Saville, See My Voice Young Leader

SMV Case Study 2: David Howells

David was a shy teenager found his confidence after volunteering to help visually impaired people play cricket and football.  David, who is visually impaired himself, became involved with the See My Voice project as part of his Duke of Edinburgh award.

The 14-year-old was keen to help people in a similar situation to himself play sport, but says his involvement has also helped him to develop his social skills after he accepted he would not be able to play fully sighted cricket and football.

“Sport has always been very important to me and volunteering has meant I have been able to do something I love whilst encouraging and helping others to have new experiences or build on their skills.  It has given me the confidence not to see my visual impairment as something that should get in the way of playing sport.  It has built my self-assurance in dealing with others both in sport and social settings.  Being able to talk to others, sharing experiences and knowing you are not alone in what I am feeling or experiencing has helped me manage the deterioration in my sight.”

David Howells, See My Voice Young Leader

The Torch Trophy Trust would like to express their gratitude to everyone who has been involved in the Trust since their birth in 1962.  They would like to say a deep thank you to so many members of the Royal Family, to sporting legends, to loyal trustees and to all those at the grassroots of sport who have encouraged and helped them in their story over these years.  The Torch Trophy Trust archives are now held at Loughborough University.

British Blind Sport (BBS) would like to thank all of those at the Torch Trophy Trust who have provided backing to BBS and the projects aiding the development of young volunteers in sport, which continue to support the individuals championing sport inclusion for all.