Article from WALTHAM FOREST ECHO May issue
Bowling club secretary Bob Belam explains how visually-impaired people can now enjoy the sport locally
This month. Walthamstow Borough Bowling Club (WBBC) will be launching a project in Lloyd Park aimed at enabling local people living with sight loss to take up and play an adapted version of bowls.
Thanks to funding and support from Motivate East, a London 2012 Olympic Games legacy project, alongside training and guidance from vision-impaired charities East London Vision and Metro Blind Sport, people from across East London can experience this sport in a supportive and friendly setting.
Waltham Forest Community Transport is providing a pick-up and drop-off service to the park in Walthamstow, removing another barrier to active participation for blind and partially-sighted Londoners.
According to the sporting body Visually Impaired Bowls England (VIBE), there are more than 50 clubs around the country supporting over 600 blind and partially-sighted people to play and compete in this sport. London only has two such clubs, and we will be the first located in the east of the capital.
We are delighted to be able to offer another inclusive bowling opportunity here at our club, and it is a really exciting and inspiring project to be part of. As with all vision-impaired sports there are adaptations required to make this sport accessible.
Ian Francis, a sports development officer at charity Metro Blind Sport, explains: “Blind and partially-sighted bowlers rely on good communication with their ‘spotters’ and use a ‘clock face’ principle to explain the position of a ‘wood’ in relation to the jack. “Once the jack has been rolled it is placed on a centre string running the full length of the rink, this distance is then called to all players.
“Spotters then call the wood positions, for example, ‘three feet from the jack at 12 o’clock’, to create a mental picture for the bowler. They also act as guides for players when moving around the rink and often before and after matches. ”
Without clubs such as WBBC delivering these inclusive opportunities it is extremely challenging to provide truly accessible sport, we all really value their support.
If you are vision-impaired or know someone who is, you are welcome to join us for the launch of vision-impaired bowling in Walthamstow , details below.
First Vision Impaired Bowls Session in East London
When: Starting Thu 26th May 2016
(followed by 9, 23, 30 June; 7, 21, 28 Jul; 4, 18, 25 Aug)
Time: 2.00pm – 5.30pm
Where: WBBC, Lloyds Park off Forest Road, Walthamstow E17.
Meeting Point: William Morris Gallery Park Entrance – 1.30pm
Nearest Tube/train: Walthamstow Central (over ground train and Victoria line). Alternatively Blackhorse Road Station and then Bus 123 to the William Morris Gallery Entrance.
Bus: 123, 34, 97, 215, 275, 357 all run nearby.
Community Transport Bus from Walthamstow Central Taxi Rank, to Lloyds Park – TBC.
This is a unique opportunity for Vision Impaired people of East London to play the wonderful sport of bowls, on their own doorstep in a supported club setting. Whether you consider yourself a novice or an expert, we would urge you to come along and pass on your expertise or learn more about this game.
For more information and to confirm your place please contact Nicola Stokes at ELVis,
Mob: 07914 770909 Tel. 020 3697 6464
Or Ian Francis (Sports Development Officer) Metro Blind Sport,
Tel. 07814 751643, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org