Tag Archives: Martin Symcox

Martin Symcox: Sharing Best Practice!

The Importance of Sharing Best Practice


Original article on connectsport.co.uk

Metro Blind Sport is a registered charity which delivers positive, life-changing outcomes through the creation of sporting and physical activity opportunities, to individuals with a visual impairment in London. Our ambition is to give every individual with a visual impairment the chance to play sport and be physically active.

Being blind or partially sighted should not limit a person’s access to sport and physical activity. Our recent survey (due to be published in July 2019) demonstrates that Metro Blind Sport members are extremely active when good, quality provision is made available. Simple changes can be made to increase participation of the blind and partially sighted community and these changes do not have to break the bank. Simple changes to how activities are advertised, basic visual awareness training for frontline staff, changes to session times and increased access to opportunities, could and would increase participation of blind and partially-sighted people in sport and physical activity.

Tennis Doubles Smiling and Shaking hands over the net
Tennis Doubles Smiling and Shaking hands over the net

The landscape is changing, since Metro Blind Sport was formed most blind and partially-sighted children now attend mainstream schools. Physical activity starts at school and therefore we must ensure that inclusive provision is available. Often PE and other teachers do not have any experience of visually impaired sport or recreation, and therefore getting the information to the children and the teachers is crucial. With an estimated 25,000 children with a visual impairment, it is crucial that sport and physical activity provision is available and known about outside the school setting.

In order to make sport and physical activity inclusive, we need to ensure that activities are available as close to home as possible as travel is often a barrier to participation for blind and partially sighted individuals. According to the Leisure Database Company’s 2018 State of The Fitness Industry Report, 84% of people in the UK live within two miles of a leisure facility yet 66% of our members surveyed travel more than five miles to take part in sporting activities. Three quarters of our members claim they would participate in more sport if they could access activities ‘closer to home’. This was mirrored by 59% of non-members surveyed.

Travel distance is not the only barrier to entry. Other factors such as ‘activity timings’, and ‘poor venue location’ affect blind and partially sighted activity alongside ‘nobody to go with’ and ‘sessions that do not cater for people with a visual impairment’.

Guide and Junior Runner at our Athletic Open Event
Guide and Junior Runner at our Athletic Open Event

What is encouraging is that when we asked which activities members and non-members would like to get involved with, the top three responses in both groups were: cycling, swimming and the gym. According to the State of The Fitness Industry Report, there are 2,708 public leisure facilities in the UK all with the facilities in place to offer these services.

So, if the facilities are already available to service this demand, and research by the RNIB reports that 64% of people with a visual impairment would like to be more physically active, why are more people with a visual impairment not taking advantage? This is an area of work that Metro Blind Sport intends to focus on, working in close collaboration with leisure centre operators and trade organisations such as ukactive and Activity Alliance over the coming months.


Photo of Martin Symcox CEO of Metro Blind SportOrganisations in the sight loss and physical activity sectors must collaborate and share information and best practice to bring about change. Metro Blind Sport will use our research to educate the wider sector, alongside partners, on changes that need to be made to support blind and partially-sighted people to take part in sport and physical activity.

article by Martin Symcox




Martin on RNIB Connect Radio!

Martin chats on RNIB Connect Radio about Metro!

You can listen below to Martin Symcox, our CEO, who chats to RNIB Connect Radio’s daily connect show, about Metro Blind Sport and what  VI sport and social events are available for all blind and VI people to try out.

One of our Members and Long time cricketer,  Gary Mortiz has his own music show on Connect Radio,  Sunset Melodies  Check it out Below!



AGM: Confirm Attendance by 23 Nov

Metro Blind Sport's AGM Deadline 23 Nov- please confirm Attendance

Thanks to all those members who have already responded, for those that have not yet had a chance to do so, the deadline to book your place and food at the AGM is the 23rd November 2018.

We have some great raffle prizes this year, including a cricket bat signed by England versus Pakistan Test Series, and for those “adrenaline-fueled members” out there “a bungee jump” donated by Red Letter Days, so do join us at The AGM to get some raffle tickets and have a chance of winning one of these great prizes!

The Metro Staff and the Trustees are all looking forward to meeting and catching up with you at this year’s rapidly approaching Annual General Meeting.

To avoid disappointment, it is important that you let Martin Symcox know by Friday 23rd November if you will be attending, and any dietary requirements, so sufficient food can be organised.

Martin’s contact details:
Email: martin.symcox@metroblindsport.org
or Telephone: 07508 958 927

Metro Blind Sports Annual General Meeting Event details:
Date: Friday 30th November 2018  Time: 18:00 to 20:30  Cost: Free
Venue: Union Jack Club, Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8UJ
The main entrance is directly opposite Waterloo station

Please find below a download link to this year Annual report. Expenditure for each sport will be explained in more detail at the AGM on the 30th November.

Download Link to Annual report: http://bit.ly/MBSAnnualReport17-18


New CEO for Metro Blind Sport!

Martin Symcox the New CEO for Metro Blind Sport!

Martin Symcox takes the reins at Metro Blind Sport

Original post by Andy Knaggs –  leisuremanagement.co.uk

Metro Blind Sport has appointed Martin Symcox, the former director of drowning prevention charity the Royal Life Saving Society UK, to the position of chief executive officer.

The London-based charity, which was founded in 1973, aims to open doors to a wide range of sports for all visually impaired people, regardless of age or sporting ability.

It described Symcox as a “passionate, enthusiastic leader”, with a successful senior management track record, a good knowledge of and network within the sport and leisure sector, a background in the public, private and third sectors, and experience in business development, leisure marketing, communications and partnership management.

Andy Law, chair of trustees, said there had been a thorough and competitive recruitment process leading up to the appointment, adding: “Martin builds upon a solid foundation, with a great team and partners and collectively we are determined to stimulate further activity and opportunity for visually impaired people across London.”

“Metro Blind Sport has been supporting visually impaired people for 45 years and I feel very proud and privileged to bring my knowledge and passion to contribute to this agenda,” Symcox said.


Sight Village: 6-7 Nov!