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Press release


  • 9 January 2006

Visually impaired young people get a sporting chance


The University of Sussex is teaming up with the cream of Sussex sport to offer visually impaired young people aged 16-plus a chance to get active.

Brighton and Hove Albion FC, Sussex County Cricket Club and Brighton and Hove City Goalball are joining with the University to offer specially-designed instruction and coaching for visually impaired (VI) young people in football, cricket and goalball, a team sport devised with visually impaired players in mind.

The opportunity comes with the award of a £10,000 grant from Brighton-based charity the Blatchington Court Trust, which helps visually impaired people under the age of 30 in Sussex to lead more active and independent lives.

To promote the initiative, the University is holding a VI sports festival on Saturday, January 21, from 2pm to 5.30pm, at the campus sports centre. The event is open to VI students and any VI people aged over 16 from Sussex interested in taking up a team sport. Taster sessions led by qualified coaches will be offered in specially adapted versions of cricket and football. All events will be staged indoors and it will cost £1.50 per person to take part.

Would-be cricketers will get coaching from Sussex Sharks (the VI arm of Sussex CCC) and inspiration from former Sussex student and cricket star Andy Dalby-Welsh. Andy played for England in the Blind Cricket World Cup in India in 2003 and has also represented his country in the West Indies.

The Albion, whose players train at the University's Falmer sports complex, is also looking to develop an adult VI squad to play competitively, should there be enough interest.

There will also be an opportunity to learn goalball - a game with the visually impaired in mind, but which anyone can play. It involves two goal zones, a ball containing a bell and two teams of three. All players have to wear a mask that restricts vision. The idea is to score or stop the other side from scoring in your zone, keeping track of the ball by sound.

Simon Tunley, Deputy Head of Sport at the University, said: "The funding from Blatchington Court Trust has given the University of Sussex, with help from the Albion, Sussex CCC and Brighton and Hove Goalball, the opportunity to promote and develop VI sport within the county. It is hoped from the sports festival we can establish a sustainable VI sports programme for the future. It's a great opportunity to try something new for 2006, meet new people and perhaps even play competitively."

Notes for editors

Anyone wishing to take part in the festival should contact Simon Tunley on 01273 877 125 or email s.f.tunley@sussex.ac.uk

For more information about the Blatchington Court Trust, see http://www.blatchington-court.co.uk/

University of Sussex Press Office contacts: Maggie Clune or Jacqui Bealing. Tel 01273 678 888 or email M.T.Clune@sussex.ac.uk or J.A.Bealing@sussex.ac.uk

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