My Sight scoops national award
Local charity, My Sight Nottinghamshire (formerly NRSB) is celebrating winning a national award for excellence in service delivery for its range of accessible sports and healthy life style initiatives for local blind and partially sighted people.
The award which was presented at the Visionary Conference in York last week, was designed to recognize excellence in services for blind and partiall sighted people, which will inspire other local sight loss charities and from which other organisations can learn. Numerous applications were received from sight loss charities across the UK and three projects were short listed in the category of Quality of Service Delivered. Judges were looking for evidence of positive impact on the lives of blind and partially sighted people with projects designed to end social isolation and get people living with sight loss out of their homes and interacting with the community.
My Sight Nottinghamshire developed its sports and healthy lifestyle initiatives following a consultation in 2009. In just three years, the charities sports initiatives have developed and expanded significantly, with nearly 60 blind and partially sighted people now regularly participating in sports ranging from cricket and goalball to rambling, tandem cycling and swim and gym. What’s more, two local visually impaired people are now in serious contention for future Paralympic success.
Paul Joplin, aged 45 from Nottingham, who is registered partially sighted due to a degenerative eye condition known as retinitis pigmentosa, said: “When I was diagnosed with an incurable, degenerative sight loss condition almost four years ago, my world changed forever. I quickly went from the outgoing, sporty person that I had been, into a shy, unconfident, unfit recluse. I stopped cycling with my local club and gave up the road races and the time trials. I was soon at one of the lowest points in my life. I knew I had to do something so eventually I got in touch with My Sight Nottinghamshire and spoke to the coaches and some of the goalball and cricket players. The enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of everyone involved, staff and players, was infectious and just what I needed to get me out of the house and back into a healthy lifestyle – both physically and emotionally.
“In the last year I’ve travelled much of the country playing goalball and cricket. I’ve made new friends, developed new skills, I’m getting healthier again and I’ve regained my confidence, especially with a cricket bat! The professionalism, dedication and hard work of our coaches and volunteers has made a tremendous difference to me, they’ve given me my life back and I can’t thank them enough.”
Faye Dale, Sports & Healthy Life Style Coordinator for My Sight Nottinghamshire, said: “At My Sight Nottinghamshire we aim to support each individual’s needs and goals helping them reach their potential – whether small or large from competing for their country or socialising, having fun and staying healthy. We aspire to support each person every step of the way, helping to restore their self confidence, independence and achieve their potential.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved in a relatively short time and winning this award is recognition of the vision of our charity and the achievements of our sports teams and individuals, many of whom are competing in sport for the first time in their lives. I’m thrilled to have won the award but for me the real thrill still comes from seeing someone’s face light up the first time they hit a cricket ball, save a goal or swim a length.”
Michael Conroy, Chief Executive of My Sight Nottinghamshire, said: “We’re really proud of Faye and everyone involved in winning this award, we’re a small local charity so earning national recognition for our work is simply brilliant! Many blind and partially sighted people are still needlessly excluded from participating in sport and our challenge now is to capitialise on the legacy of the Paralympics and the momentum created by this national award and open up sports facilities and opportunities across Notts ensuring sport is truly accessible for everyone.”