Tag Archives: 2019

Alex VI finalist: Dance Westminster!

Alex Henderson VI Finalist in Dance Westminster 2019

Alex Henderson a VI finalist in Dance Westminster!

Congratulation from us all to Alex, a metro member and a fellow TPT employee and now the first VI finalist in his stage, so he will now be working with the Pro from Step Change Studios to learn his routine,  which he will perform at the gala finals on 23rd January at Porchester Hall IN Westminster!

Alex was interviewed by Will Bayley on BBC Strictly – It Takes Two

BBC IPlayer Link herehttps://blindsport.uk/AlexHDanceWest

The Gala event is free and we will share full details as soon as Westminster confirm the specifics.

Some photos of Alex at Dance Westminster below

Photo credit John Trigg and Diane Parker-Wood.



Metro Blind Sport’s Impact Report

Metro Blind Sport's Impact Report

Visually impaired individuals want to cycle, swim and go to the gym.

The three activities people with a visual impairment most want to get involved in are cycling, swimming and going to the gym. This is just one of the significant insights lifted from a comprehensive survey by Metro Blind Sport exploring the attitude, preferences and behaviours of its visually impaired network with regards to physical activity.

The survey, completed by 60 Metro Blind Sport members and 111 non-members, was conducted via an online survey. All participants were in some way already engaged with sport either directly through Metro Blind Sport or through one of the charity’s partners.

Metro Blind Sport’s Impact Report

To download a full copy of the impact report, link Here:  Impact Report
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the report with Metro Blind Sport, contact the charity on martin.symcox@metroblindsport.org

infographic showing how many percent of our members would like to Cycle 40%,  Swim 39.5 %  and go to the  Gym 35%

Key findings:

  • 40 per cent of participants would like to cycle, 39.5 per cent would like to swim and 35 per cent would like to go to the gym
  • 71 per cent of members surveyed are achieving the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended 150 minutes of activity per week

A infographic saying 71% of our members achieve the recommended 150 minutes of activity per week

  • Factors that would increase participation are: facilities close to home (67 per cent), availability of specialist coaching (47 percent) and somebody to go with (43 per cent)
  • Main barriers to participation are: venue location (17 per cent), lack of information about available activities (14 per cent) and nobody to go with (14 per cent)
  • Besides 73 per cent quoting ‘better physical health as an outcome of personal involvement in sport, participants also reported: improved self-confidence (63 per cent), formation of friendship groups (58 per cent), promotion of a positive attitude (55 per cent) and better mental health (50 per cent)
  • Almost half of participants (47 per cent) have to travel more than 5 miles to participate in sport with 28 per cent travelling more than 10 miles
  • Most popular reasons to participate are: to improve general fitness (78 per cent), to have fun (70 per cent), to compete (53 per cent), to socialise (42 per cent) and to lower stress (41 per cent)
  • 94 per cent of participants feel more could be done to encourage participation amongst those with a visual impairment

The research forms part of a wider Impact Report, commissioned by Metro Blind Sport, to examine the influence the charity is having on participation and to establish what more could be done to engage those with sight loss or a visual impairment.

Martin Symcox, CEO at Metro Blind Sport, says: “Most of the information we have about our community and its engagement with physical activity is anecdotal. We identified a need to better understand what our members and wider network gain from participation, barriers which prevented them engaging more and, given the opportunity, what activities they would like to be more involved in. Findings would then contribute to our ongoing strategic plans to encourage higher levels of participation in sport and physical activity.


infographic showing Most popular reasons to participate are:  General fitness 78%, Have Fun 70%, to compete 53%, to socialise42%,  and to lower stress 41%

“The research has certainly produced some valuable insight. For me there are two standout learnings.

“Firstly, our members and wider network are significantly more physically active than the rest of the visually impaired population. 71 per cent of those surveyed are achieving 150 minutes of activity per week. This is a significant improvement on figures reported in the most recent Sport England Active Lives Survey, which states more than half (54 per cent) of people with a visual impairment are ‘inactive’, achieving less than 30 minutes per week.

“Our survey results suggest that, through availability of information, the provision of an inclusive, accessible environment with specialist coaching support, plus an adequate choice of activity, the visually impaired community will engage. It is estimated that there are two million people in the UK, including 194,000 Londoners, living with sight loss that significantly impacts upon their life. This presents a significant opportunity to leisure operators who can reduce barriers and provide inclusive services.

“Secondly, the 2019 State of The Fitness Industry Report by The Leisure Database Company, states there are 2,729 public sector fitness facilities in the UK. All of these will be offering swimming, cycling and/or gym facilities. Our survey reports these are the activities most appealing to our visually impaired community, raising the question: ‘Why is there a disconnect between available facilities and engagement?”

“Over the coming months, I plan to focus on this area. Working in collaboration with leisure operators and ukactive and providing access to our survey results, I want to help operators to better understand how to engage with the visually impaired community. In addition to the many social, mental and health benefits this will deliver to individuals, it will also open up a new market to operators who can engage with a greater percentage of their communities.”

Metro Blind Sport’s Impact Report

To download a full copy of the impact report, link Here:  Impact Report
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the report with Metro Blind Sport, contact the charity on martin.symcox@metroblindsport.org


LOOKFest 2019 by Charlotte Carson

Lookfest 2019 by Charlotte Carson!

LOOKFest 2019

Thank you for keeping in touch with LOOK and for your support. We are very excited to share news with you about LOOKFest – our first summer festival. We had an incredible time, and have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback.

One mum wrote: “Thank you so much, our girls loved every second and had so many accessible new experiences. I’ve never seen our eldest so free and just enjoying being a child.”

That’s exactly what we were aiming for – to give families and young people a sense of freedom and fun. It’s two years ago since the idea for a VI friendly summer festival was born. It came out of the challenges faced by many visually impaired people who go to festivals. Often activities are not accessible and festival sites are difficult to navigate, so we decided to create LOOKFest – an accessible family friendly festival, where people can come together, take part in accessible activities and visually impaired children can roam free.

Video Message below from Charlotte Carson

We also recruited visually impaired volunteers to help us. For example, our volunteers helped us design the guide ropes around the site, that helped visually impaired people navigate independently. Our blind and partially sighted volunteers also acted as role models to the children and families, showing that visually impaired people can thrive and overcome challenges and barriers in their lives.

One mum said: “Meeting VI role models was the highlight of the festival. It had such an empowering effect on my VI daughter. She doesn’t often meet other VI people, and they were so positive and assertive – fantastic!”

After months of planning, and in particular thanks to the hard work of our Events Manager Elin and our Operations Manager Megan, The LOOK team and our band of amazing volunteers pulled off an incredible event.
Families and children created dens, textured rainbows and musical instruments in the woodland. Children took part in music workshops and were shown the power of echolocation for independent navigation by Daniel Kish and his team. We also held a magical fancy dress disco, an open mic and were treated to live music by a live band, the Inner Vision Orchestra and danced the night away with a ceilidh. Children and families having fun, sharing experiences and offering each other support during the weekend was wonderful. You can’t put a price on it.

One parent summed up the spirit of the festival by saying: “My son now has friends who are VI like him and we have an overall sense of increased confidence and appetite for further adventure. Having Daniel Kish and his team there was great, his positive outlook was very motivational in allowing us to see and explore the scope for VI independence.”

Thank you to all our staff, volunteers, activity leaders and caterers for making LOOKFest such a great success. And a heartfelt thank you from all at Look – and the families and young people who came to the festival – to our funders the incredible Queen’s Trust for making LOOKFest possible.

Thanks to your generous support, we were able to offer families an accessible, affordable and unforgettable experience. I’d also like to thank our incredible London marathon runners who raise vital funds – we are indebted to you all!

The interest for LOOKFest 2020 is very much alive. So if you want to join us next year, please register your interest by emailing Elin on events@look-uk.org

Charlotte Carson,
Director of LOOK

Website: https://www.look-uk.org


Cricket T20 Finals: Almost; Time!

Metro Cricket Team

Almost; Time!   T20 Finals Day

21st September 2019

Yes, it was close and came down to the last over but Metro could not quite manage a cup double. However there were individual BCEW season awards to celebrate at Wolverhampton, with Hassan Khan getting the total fielder of the year, Mo the partial bowler of the year – with an economy of 1.97 runs per over and 15 wickets for just 45 runs going into T20 finals day, and Chris Lewis winner of the Regional low partial player of the season for his 56runs – at a run a ball – and 6 wickets at an economy of 5.9.

The day was one of the best of the summer – none of the rain that has affected Metro’s cricket over the summer, just horizon to horizon blue sky and plenty of sunshine as Metro drew Yorkshire in the semi-final, winning the toss and asking Yorkshire to bat first. Mo was hit for a boundary second ball, rather a surprise given those bowling figures but came back to finish his four over spell with two maidens and just one more run conceded plus an opening batsman’s wicket.

Metros other strike bowlers Rory and Gareth both picked up two wickets – Gareth’s second was the last ball of the innings with 131 having been scored. In the chase, Matt and Nick set off at a lightning pace and had scored 67 in just over five overs before Nick was bowled. Matt completed his 50 before he was caught at square leg leaving Andy and Mark Bond just over two dozen runs to score to complete a fairly easy victory. Meanwhile, Sussex had beaten Northants so the final was a repeat of this year’s BBS cup quarter-final.

After lunch Sussex won the toss and asked Metro to bat first. The openers again got off to a flying start reaching 75 from six overs before Nick was trapped leg before. That was the only wicket to fall as Andy contributed 42, including three boundaries, to an unbroken stand of 185 with Matt who amassed a huge 156 that included three sixes and twenty=two boundaries. With just 18 runs less than their BBS cup score on the board at the mid-way point it seemed that Metro were likely winners and their batsmen likely to receive player of the day awards.

However, the team knew that there was one player who might be able to chase down such a big score. Dan Field took 16 off Mo’s first over, including six off two no balls as Mo strained for a magic wicket-taking ball. That over set the tone for the whole innings as Sussex stayed ahead of the required run rate for the duration. Metro took four wickets run out as Dan controlled the innings, with no one else facing more than eleven balls. That was during the third wicket stand of 135 with Dan’s partner contributing just 15.

Metros bowlers all toiled hard and bowled well in conceded just five wides and six no balls, after that first over, in the innings but with Dan getting 220 from 86 balls with an amazing twelve sixes and seventeen boundaries Andy faced the task of needing to bowl a maiden in the final over to Mark, the Sussex total batting at six, to win the match. A big appeal saw Mark out leg before – with Metro rather disappointed as they were hoping that the wicket was Dan run out. It was not so and when a single was run next ball to get Dan back on strike Sussex were soon the victors.

Andy did get the low partial player of the day award as some consolation at the end of the season. The next Metro cricket will now be in 2020. Hopefully, winter indoor nets before the season starts in April.

Report by Paul Toplis 


Paul was the 2019 Charles Ronayne Award for Outstanding Contribution to VI Cricket winner for his superb work providing scorers & stats for every club in VI cricket.

Congratulation to Paul for his well-deserved award from us all at Metro Blind Sport!



Family Fireworks Party 2019

Family Fireworks Party Sat 9 Nov 2019 with VICTA Apply by 4 Oct

Family Fireworks Party 2019 with VICTA!

Date: Saturday 9 November 2019
Venue: Caldecotte Xperience, Milton Keynes
Cost: £5 per person (under 5s are free)
Who: Families with a child who is blind or partially sighted
Application Closing Date: 4 October 2019
Apply Here: https://www.victa.org.uk/fireworks/

Our family fireworks party is back for another year!

Join VICTA from 4.30pm at the Caldecotte Xperience in Milton Keynes for an afternoon of family fun with craft activities and more. We will be keeping bonfire traditions alive with a Guy making competition.

Families can warm themselves up with hot food from the hog roast (there will also be a vegetarian hot snack option) and of course the crackle and pop of the bonfire will add to the cosiness!

Once the sun goes down at 6.30pm we will be treated to a fabulous fireworks display! After we have all “oohed” and “aahed” till our hearts content, it will be time to depart at around 7 to 7.30pm.

Please note there will be Guy making materials available on the day but if you have anything you would like to bring from home to add to your creation, please do.

For all VICTA activities –  Link: http://bit.ly/VICTA2019