ADULTS with vision impairment will be able to get active more easily after British Blind Sport and England Athletics launched Find a Guide, a national guide runner database.
The database is an online tool for anyone aged over 18 with a visual impairment to help them find a licenced running guide – someone who has been DBS checked and attended an England Athletics Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running workshop – in their local area.
The launch of Find a Guide is part of a national push by the British Blind Sport and England Athletics to support more visually impaired people to get active by putting them in touch with trained guide runners after.
It comes after the latest data from Sport England’s Active People Survey December 2015 shows only 11.8 per cent of adults with a visual impairment take part in sport once a week, compared to 39.3 per cent of non-disabled adults.
Nick Thorley, a visually impaired runner from Nottingham who runs with a guide, said running had become a massive part of his life.
“It gives me a focus, makes me feel healthier, has increased my confidence and provides a real sense of achievement,” he said.
Mr Thorley said the generosity and commitment of guide runners had made it all possible.
“Strangely, I find running with someone gives me more of a sense of freedom and independence than anything else I’ve done,” he said.
Wendy Lawson, a guide runner from Redhill Road Runners in Nottingham, said being a guide was rewarding as all events she did with her runner Iris were about helping Iris to succeed.
England Athletics National Disability Manager Liz Purbrick said the database could connect people of all running abilities with a licenced guide runner to support them.
British Blind Sport Chief Executive Officer Alaina MacGregor said she hoped the database would allow more visually impaired people to enjoy running, safe in the knowledge that they could connect with a guide runner who was trained, vetted and passionate about running.
There are 112 guide runners registered on the database across England, particularly in Cambridgeshire, Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, London, Nottingham, Hampshire and South Yorkshire.
British Blind Sport and England Athletics are working with various groups across England over the next 12 months to find and train more guide runners so there are guides in all areas of the country.
To find a guide runner, visit http://britishblindsport.org.uk
To become a guide, visit www.englandathletics.org