Getting fit had unexpected benefits!

Getting fit had unexpected benefits!

“Getting fit again has helped me get back part of what makes me who I am, and it’s had unexpected benefits”

Monday 29th July 2019

original article from

The latest person experience story comes from Leanora Volpe

My name is Lea, and I am a member of the GB paraclimbing team. I have recently been preparing for the world championships which took place in July in France, but it has been quite a long road to get from where I was to where I am today.

I have ataxia and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. My conditions affect my balance, coordination and eyesight, and my connective tissues are fragile and unsupportive, so all of my joints and some of my organs are affected.

I haven’t always identified as disabled. Although looking back I’ve always had joint issues and wasn’t the picture of health as a teenager, my EDS wasn’t picked up until I was 21, after I experienced a big decline in my health and mobility.

As a teenager and through university I was really active and at various points I was competing in fencing, athletics and rowing. Competitive sport was a big part of my life. But when I got ill I had to stop everything and everything I heard made me believe that exercise was dangerous and difficult for people like me, so I lost the confidence to try. Health professionals advise people with EDS to do physiotherapy but the daily exercises didn’t feel meaningful or fun so I lost the motivation to do them.

The turning point for me was when my physiotherapist at the time told me to adjust my expectations about ever being able to do sports again. It was like a red rag to a bull and I signed up for a gym membership determined to prove him wrong. I had to start with just five minutes going really slowly on an exercise bike but I managed to build up the time I spent and started to incorporate strengthening exercises. As I started to get fitter I had more energy and I felt better in myself.

Then a friend told me about climbing and I decided to give it a try. I was so scared that it would be too hard or painful, and looking back it would have been a confidence boost to have the support of people around me to try new things and take risks, but after my first session I was hooked and kept going back.

Being newly disabled was isolating for a while and finding a new hobby helped me to reconnect with people in a really welcoming environment.

Nobody expects you to be super strong when you start out, so it’s a level playing field. People just cheer you on whether you’re climbing at the lowest difficulty or the highest difficulty. People barely bat an eyelid when someone comes into the climbing wall with a mobility aid or wearing a prosthetic leg – we are all equals and encourage each other regardless of ability.

After a year of climbing I found out about paraclimbing, which is climbing for people with various disabilities including visual impairments, limb differences or neurological and physical disabilities. There are lots of different categories, and mine is called ‘RP2’, which is for people with a range of moderate neurological and physical disabilities and can include anything from ataxia like me, to brain injuries, fused joints, paralysis – you name it! It’s a very mixed group.

I competed in the national championships and came second overall in my category. I decided to try out for the GB paraclimbing team and this summer competed in my first international competitions. I won the world paraclimbing master’s cup, and came third at the world championships.

It was such an amazing experience and I had a really brilliant time, and I enjoyed getting to meet paraclimbers from all over the world. I’ve learned a lot and am looking forward to next year. My ataxia is getting worse and it’s hard to deal with but there will always be a place for me in paraclimbing, which makes me feel more positive about the future.

Paraclimbing helps me feel proud to be disabled. I wouldn’t have this opportunity without my condition, and I wouldn’t have the friends I do now either.

My support network is really important to help me keep going – from my coach who adapts sessions to help avoid getting injured or too tired, to my physio who keeps my muscles and joints healthy and gives me advice about how to train safely, and my friends and family who spur me on when things are hard and believe in me every step of the way.

Getting fit again has helped me get back part of what makes me who I am, and it’s had unexpected benefits like helping me keep working, giving me more energy and helping me improve my balance and coordination.

Paraclimbers are really accepting of people’s different abilities and it’s an environment where it’s ok to find something difficult or have to take things slowly.

Before I was disabled I had trained for a marathon and was aiming to make the blue boat for Oxford. I would have loved to achieve my dreams in running and rowing but it’s empowering to have found something I can do and enjoy. It’s like I’ve left my old life behind and am on a different path now.

When your physical abilities are out of your control it can feel like a real loss. But to go from really struggling to get active again, to being the third best paraclimber in the world in my category feels amazing.

The most important thing for me was finding something I could do, and going at it with a huge amount of stubbornness and enthusiasm with a support network behind me. It’s not possible alone, and I feel really lucky to have stumbled across paraclimbing and had the opportunity and support to get active again.

Author: Kirsty Mulvey

Metro Cricket: Caught and Bowled Two!

Metro Cricket Team Win Heindrich Swanepoel Memorial Cup 2019!

Caught and Bowled Two

–  31st August 2019

Metro won the BBS Cup, for the first time it was renamed after Heindrich, in a match that at the end was much less stressful for supporters at the County Ground in Bristol than their semi-final win at Highgate had been.

Amazingly once again the win was secured by a caught and bowled as Rory look a great low catch to dismiss the other skipper for 65 in the thirteenth over. It was a great comeback after that over had started with twelve runs conceded off four balls, but then ended with two wickets in two balls as the incoming batsman was caught by Mo at mid-wicket to leave Rory on a hat trick; one that was not to be when he returned to bowl 14 overs later.

Photo of the County Ground in Bristol with metro team warming up

Photo of the County Ground in Bristol with metro team warming upAfter an excellent tea provided by Gloucestershire of lasagne and salad Metro’s opening bowlers Gareth and Mo had got the defence of Metro’s score off to the expected quality start as, backed up by quality fielding, they limited the reply to just 10 from the first four overs. Mo picking up the first of his two wickets as Matt took a good catch at cover to dismiss Rory H. As Somerset kept their scoring worm ahead however it was that catch, and the wicket next ball that swung the game in favour of Metro.

At half way Somerset were on 99 still 15 ahead of where Metro had been but crucially they had lost three wickets. They managed to score less than half that in the remaining overs reaching just a gross for the loss of 7 wickets at the end of their innings.


Metro Cricket team skipper Rory chat at half time
Metro Cricket team skipper Rory chat at half time

Eight of those were part of Steve Cook’s 34, a shot that resulted in Prem coming on to cover for Mark Bond who cramped up after chasing the ball all the way to the fine leg boundary. Mo and Justin put together back to back maidens at overs nineteen and twenty; a feat followed by Rory and Andy Law in overs twenty-eight and twenty-nine. Andy ended his two overs with two wickets for just three runs, in addition to that maiden. His second wicket was a stunning catch from Mark Russell who ran from slip to silly point to grab the ball.

Mark had been at the crease as Metro’s innings ended on the fourth highest ever cup final score of 233, twenty-seven short of the record, relieving the pain of the low score in last year’s final. There had been concern that this may not have been possible as light rain and grey skies delayed the start by almost an hour, but all agreed that the match should remain at thirty overs and Metro were put into bat so it was over to Matt and Nick. The start was electric as Matt hit two fours, including one from a no ball, before the bowlers struck back supported by effective fielding to limit both Nick and then Andy to low scores so that when the second wicket fell in the ninth over, with Andy’s runner not getting back for a second the score was only 43.

As the sky started to turn blue and the sun shone Metro started to build on this platform with Justin joining Matt at the crease. Shortly after Matt reached 50 Justin hit the only 6 of the day, over square leg, to bring up 100 in the nineteenth over. The pair put on 125 for the third wicket before Matt was bowled by Mikey for 73, there has only been one higher partnership in a BBS cup final. Justin was finally out, caught and bowled by Ed having scored 89 from 63 balls – exactly the same number as faced by Matt – having hit 13 fours as well as that six.

Metro Cricket Team and Charlie all Smiling with their medal and the cup
Metro Cricket Team and Charlie all Smiling with their medal and the cup

Congratulations to Metro’s winning cup team; the XI on the day – Rory Field, Hassan Khan, Amit Amin, Andy Law, Mark Russell, Matt Dean, Mo Ghalib, Justin Hollingsworth, Nick Ebbeck, Mark Bond and Gareth Jones; the three who were there in support: Rob McKenzie as well as Mujahaid Zabit and Prem Sellathurai, who along with Ryan Jones and Matt Pounder had played in earlier rounds.

The cricket season end in Woverhampton on 21st September when Metro play in the David Townley T20 cup finals day, along with Sussex, Northants and Yorkshire.

Report by Paul Toplis

“What a win for the Metro cricket team today in the national cup final. Congratulations to all of the players. Well done to both teams! ” – Martin Symcox

“They did it! Well done to Metro cricket team for winning by 89 runs today to lift the trophy! A brilliant performance from Somerset also which provided a great cricket final” – Charlie Raven





Tokyo Progress GB Women’s Goalball

GB women squad stood at their goal before a match

Great Britain women’s tournament finish shows progress towards Tokyo 2020

Original Article by Goalballuk

Great Britain women’s goalball squad sixth-place finish at an international tournament was a significant step in their ambition to achieve qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Despite losing out in the quarter-finals at the IBSA goalball event in Fort Wayne, the team put together a series of performances of the highest quality that suggest they are ready to compete on the biggest stage.

After beating the likes of Spain, South Korea and Germany, it set up a last-eight match against the host nation America. Great Britain fought to the end but was beaten by the eventual runners-up and Rio 2016 bronze medallists.

In the placing matches, Great Britain won a nail-biting penalty shootout against Finland before coming up short against Canada to finally secure sixth place.

Great Britain now looks forward to preparing for the European Championships in October taking place in Rostock, Germany. The event represents the last chance to secure their spot at Tokyo 2020.

Aaron Ford, Great Britain’s head coach, said: “This squad is clearly heading in the right direction. We are all confident that we can build on this performance at an event that featured most of the best teams in the world.

“Some of the performances in Fort Wayne were excellent. The team showed great levels of maturity and were clinical to see games out. There were setbacks and we need to learn from those if we are to achieve our goal of competing at the Paralympics.

“The group will continue to develop as elite athletes over the coming months and come back even stronger for the European Championship in October.”

Mark Winder, CEO of Goalball U.K., said: “It was fantastic to watch the squad against some incredibly strong opposition. We are seeing our talent pathway producing world-class players with this inspiring group.

“Their performance in America was a real testament of how much goalball has developed across Great Britain in the last few years. Alongside their talent, they embody the goalball family ethos on and off the court.

“Everyone associated with the sport is incredibly proud of what they have achieved. I know Aaron, his coaching team and the players will have already turned their attentions to Rostock in Germany and will be ready to take the next step.”

The squad consisted of Georgie Bullen, Sarah Leiter, Antonia Bunyan, Amelia Robertson, Kali Holder and Lois Turner. An experienced four-person coaching team joined the players, this was Aaron Ford, Becky Ashworth (coach/team leader), Faith Fisher (physio) and Hannah Levi (support staff).


Audition for Movie: blind teenage role

Casting a blind teenage role

Casting a blind teenage role

Original article from

Hi. My name is John August. I’m a screenwriter and novelist. Some of my credits include Go, Big Fish, Charlie’s Angels, the 2019 version of Aladdin and the Arlo Finch books.

I’ve written a new movie that I’m planning to direct. It’s called The Shadows. It’s a thriller. The main character is a 15-year-old girl named Abby. She’s smart, resourceful and anxious. Her fight-or-flight instinct is always on. She has very little chill.

Abby is also blind. She’s been totally blind since birth.

I need to find a blind actress who can play this role. That could be tricky, because it’s not like there’s a list out there. So I’d love your help.

If you’re a teenage girl with blindness and a strong interest in acting, you can read the audition scenes and put yourself on tape. You don’t have to have acting experience, but you definitely need enthusiasm and authenticity.

If you’re anyone else, you can help by passing along this casting call to anyone you think might know an Abby. Friends, neighbors, teachers, your cousin on Facebook. My hunch is that the actress I’m looking for doesn’t think of herself as an actress, because she hasn’t had a lot of opportunities. This could be her chance, and I don’t want her to miss it. So please pass along this link.

The Role

Abby Larson is the central role in the story. She’s fifteen and in foster care. She reads a ton — both books and people’s motives. Her unstable childhood has left her wary. She doesn’t trust anyone but herself.

In terms of other movies, the best comparisons are probably Natalie Portman’s role in The Professional or Haley Joel Osment’s role in The Sixth Sense. It’s a challenging part, but one that could be spectacular with the right performer.

The role is written to be 15 years old. Not 10, not 20. She’s definitely a teenager.

She’s American. Any English-speaking person is welcome to audition. If accents become an issue, we’ll figure it out. Same for race and ethnicity. Please don’t assume you’re not who I’m looking for.

That said: this is a blind character. Sighted actors should not audition for this role. There are plenty of other parts for sighted actors, both in this movie and, well, all the other movies ever made.

If I can’t find the right actress to play Abby, the project won’t go forward.

Here’s the information in casting notice form:

Production Title: The Shadows (Thriller)
Contract: Feature
Producer: John August
Director: John August
Casting Director: TBD
Shoot Dates: Summer 2020
Location: Los Angeles, CA (likely)

ABBY (Lead – 13-17 – open ethnicity): Smart, resourceful and extremely anxious. Her fight-or-flight instinct is always on. Orphaned and living in foster care.

Other roles TBA.

Submissions: Submit headshot/photo along with audition (or link to audition) in body of the email to

How to audition

If you want to be considered for the role of Abby, you’ll need to send in an audition video. It’s really just performing your lines while someone (a friend, a parent, etc.) reads the other part off-camera.

This video shows some great British actors auditioning for various parts. It’s like that. Nothing fancy.

Those actors were taping in a casting office, but you’ll probably be doing this at home or school. That’s fine! Here’s a video with good advice on how to self-tape your audition.

Some pointers:

  • Acting is as much about listening as speaking. Really think about what it’s like to be in that space and that conversation.
  • At the start of your video, tell me your name, how old you are if you’re under 18, and anything else you think I might like to know. (I need to know your age if you’re a minor because it affects how many hours you can work.)
  • The two scenes are designed to show different aspects of Abby. Don’t be afraid to get loud on the second one.
  • You can include multiple takes if you want, but it’s probably best just to send the ones you like best.
  • Don’t worry about fancy equipment. The most important thing is that we can see your face and hear you clearly.
  • You don’t need to use any particular app. Most people will their phone’s built-in camera app. It’s fine.
  • If you have an agent or manager, include their information in the email. But it’s unlikely many folks will have one.

When you’ve recorded your audition, email it to Please include your name and any other information you think will be helpful. If you have a photo of yourself, send that too.

You can either include the video file in the email, or an online link to YouTube/Vimeo or the like. (You might want to choose “Private” or “Unlisted” if you don’t want other seeing it. It’s your call.)

The Scenes

The following are audition scenes. They’re similar to scenes in the final script, but they wouldn’t exist in this form in the actual movie (and there are no spoilers).

You can download a the audition scenes as a PDFplain textRTFMicrosoft Word — or just read them below.



Abby and GINA (40s) are finishing bowls of ice cream. The TV is playing an episode of “Frasier.”


Do you watch this show, Abby? I love it.


I like it, too. They’re mostly just talking so it’s easy to figure out.



How big is the dog? On the show.


Moose? Moose is little.

(showing with hands)

He’s like this big.

(realizing that doesn’t help)

He’s the size of a cat.


I thought he’d be big.


Because his name is Moose.


I guess that’s the joke.


Yeah, he’s a little shit. I guess he’d be dead now.

An awkward pause. Why did she have to bring up death?


Tomorrow, what do you say we go shopping? Buy you some new clothes.


I don’t care about clothes.


You should! You’re pretty. You could be a model.


Are there blind models?


I dunno. Maybe? What do you want to be when you grow up?


An airline pilot.



I’m kidding.


You’re funny! No one told me you were funny.

Abby smiles a little. It’s the first time we’ve seen a glimmer of light in her.



ZEV (30s) is handcuffed to the railing. He watches as Abby cuts open a duct-taped envelope. She reaches inside, pulling out a bundle of hundred dollar bills. She can tell it’s money.


How much is this?


Ten thousand dollars.


Where did you get it?


My work.

Abby reaches back into the envelope, pulling out a cloth-wrapped bundle. Opens it to find a SILVER GUN.


Do you kill people?


Only when I have to.

Abby weighs a decision. Zev can tell what she’s considering —


We need that! These men are dangerous. You don’t know what you’re doing.


I know I’m not killing anyone.


Just listen to me! These men I work for, they are killers. They would think nothing of…

Abby lobs the gun in the ocean. With one PLUNK, it’s gone for good.

Zev can’t believe she actually did it. Who throws away a gun?


I should never have trusted you.


This isn’t trust! You need me!


You need me more! So stop lying to me!



You’re a stupid little girl.


Without me, you’ll never find her. I am the only one who can take you to her. So we’re going to do this my way.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: I am an actress that has severe vision issues but am not totally blind. I have been trained to use a cane. Am I someone you might consider for the part?

I’m searching for an actress who interacts with the world as a non-sighted person. It’s not simply what your eyes can or cannot see, but how the world perceives you. That’s the experience I need you to have — as much the emotional side of it as the practical skills. (Abby does use a cane.)

Abby’s blindness is not her defining characteristic; she’s stubborn and clever and distrusting. But her blindness is obvious to anyone who encounters her. So that’s probably a useful question to ask yourself: Would most people meeting you in person quickly notice that you’re blind?

If so — even if your blindness is not clinically total — please do send in a video. I’d rather cast the net a bit wider than miss out on a great candidate.

I’m 20. Am I too old to audition for Abby?

Actors in their 20s are routinely cast as teenagers. The gap between “real age” and “apparent age” is mysterious and subtle. So if you and people around you believe you could pass for 15, go ahead and send in a video.

I’m 12. Am I too young to audition for Abby?

Realistically, you’re probably too young to be cast as Abby. Because of (incredibly necessary!) rules about how many hours child actors can work, it may not be feasible to have someone that young in the role. That’s why I ask you to tell me how old you are if you’re under 18.

But if you want to send in a video audition, go for it.

Are there parts for other actors?

There will be, but that casting will happen later. At the moment, I’m only looking for Abbys.

Is there a casting director?

Not at the moment.

I know a young woman who might be right for this. Should I send you her name?

Reach out to her — or her parents — and send along this casting notice. If she’s interested, she should submit an audition.

Have you contacted [name of organization]?

We’re reaching out to dozens of local and national organizations that work with blind youth. But we may have missed some, so if you have a contact there, by all means send them this casting notice.

What’s the timeline? When will you cast Abby? When will you start filming?

My plan is to spend Fall 2019 looking for an Abby, in hopes of filming in summer 2020. That said, most movies don’t happen on schedule.

I have no strict deadline for audition videos, but sooner is definitely better than later.

If you have a question, email


Life changing audio description

Life changing audio description - RNIB

RNIB Scotland volunteer, Milly Halewood,  interviews Kirin Saeed about audio descriptive theatre and how you can access AD performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year.

original post on

Audio descriptive theatre is when a trained describer converts the visual aspects of a performance into audio information using minimum words and maximum information.

Describers go through two weeks of intensive training in order to ensure the listeners have the best experience possible.

Recently, I caught up with RNIB Connector, Kirin, to talk to her about audio descriptive theatre and how it’s impacted on her life.

“My first experience of an audio described performance was truly indescribable. The best words I can use are empowering freedom and ‘my theatre experience on my terms’. I really believe audio description in theatre is one of the most exciting and challenging ways in accessing theatre performances. In fact, I believe audio description should be used in everyday situations it is something I always campaign for. As after all it offers true equality and breaks down so many barriers.”

Theatres do not tend to widely advertise audio description, which is why many people with visual impairments don’t know about it. However, the process of booking a ticket for the audio descriptive performance is sleek and straight forward.

All you need to do is ring up the theatre and enquire about the specific dates. Theatres offer large discounts for audio descriptive tickets and, in some cases, they permit people with sight loss to bring companions for free.

The experience begins with a touch tour: where you are guided around the stage to touch the props and get a feel of the set and, occasionally, meet the actors. After this, you are guided to your seat and given a headset through which you can hear the audio description.

Although the audio description is not always perfect, (there can be rare disruptions to the sound quality) it is a fantastic experience and Kirin has said that audio description has “changed my life”.

“It is an amazing way to meet other people suffering with sight loss as well as get more involved in the community.”

For Kirin, it even gave her unique opportunities to travel around the world working with DADAA and Access2Arts which were accessibility organisations in Australia order to improve the audio descriptive experience for herself and others.

“I contacted them prior to visiting Australia to see family as I wished to discover if there were any accessible theatre shows I could attend during my time there. To my delight they took me up on the offer of working with them, it coincided with a conference they were setting up together with revamping their training offer for their describers. It was an incredible experience. They enabled me to sight see so much more of Australia. The whole experience truly increased my confidence. It made me appreciate all we have on offer in Scotland especially in audio described theatre.”

Kirin firmly believes that the only way to better audio description, is to raise awareness about it and to create more demand, so there are more opportunities for others with sight loss in the future.

Edinburgh fringe festival

Fortunately, this year at the Edinburgh fringe festival, there will be over twenty audio described performances (that is compared to there being only a couple last year). There are tickets available on the website, with most venues offering half price tickets for people with sight loss or to bring a carer for free.

This is an amazing chance to try out audio described performances if you have not before. If you would like to find more information on audio described performances at the Edinburgh fringe festival, click here.