Sports and activities at university
Between the clubs, societies and informal gatherings, there is so much to offer at university. It is the perfect place to try new things or develop personal passions. Joining societies is also a great way to meet likeminded people, feel more settled and engaged, and have fun alongside your studies.
Events and activities:
It can be difficult for organisers to know how to make their events inclusive and adapt activities to make them accessible. So, our friends within the national network of Sight Loss Councils have used their experience of organising events for blind and partially sighted people, and worked with local students, to come up with these fantastic top tips for event organisers and facilitators:
- Actively encourage blind, partially sighted and deafblind students to attend events by offering to provide a sighted guide. Consider asking fellow students to volunteer to provide this assistance. To learn how to guide someone, check out the guidance from last week, here.
- Think about location. Is it close to public transport links? Is the entrance distinctive and easy to locate? Could volunteers be positioned at key points along the routes to the venue, or could a guide meet the student at a pre-arranged meeting point?
- Think about venue accessibility. Is it easy to navigate once inside? Is there sufficient lighting, and will there be an echo? Busy enclosed environments can be off-putting and disorientating. Also, glass partitions can create a lot of glare and be difficult to identify.
- Wherever possible, provide a map of the venue layout in advance, as this allows the student to familiarise themselves before attending, identify useful landmarks for orientation and plan a more accessible route around the event.
- For events such as Freshers fairs or Careers fairs, it can be really helpful to have a quiet hour at the beginning or end of the event, for students who would benefit from more space and a less hectic environment.
- Are your flyers, leaflets and other printed material accessible? Do you use a clear print, good colour contrast, and a large enough font size (at least size 18)? Try to avoid having text on top of pictures, and you should offer to supply a plain text or an electronic version to those who need it. And don’t forget about signage!
- Make sure your electronic material such as newsletters are accessible too, by including a plain text copy and adding alt text or descriptions for images. Make sure you are creating accessible PDF documents so they can be read using assistive technology.
- Stall holders should also be encouraged to think about accessibility and how they can help students engage. If they see someone waiting for a crowd to clear, could they go up to speak to the student? Can they assist with any data collection such as sign-up sheets?
- Ask for feedback and ideas from blind, partially sighted and deafblind students on what you could do to make your event accessible. And share the measures that have worked best for you on social media using the #UniInSight so other event organisers can learn from you!
The Sight Loss Councils are a network of local forums, led by blind and partially sighted members and funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust. They advocate the needs of visually impaired people in their communities and work to improve access to goods and services at a local and national level.
Find your local Sight Loss Council:
Would you like to see how different sports can be made accessible for people who are blind, partially sighted and deafblind?
Metro Blind Sport is a London based charity creating fun, accessible sport and physical activity opportunities for blind and partially sighted individuals of all ages and abilities. They also provide advice and resources to help organisations open up their activities to blind and partially sighted people and improve inclusivity. Including tennis, archery, football, climbing and cricket, videos on Metro Blind Sport’s YouTube channel demonstrate what can be achieved with some simple adaptions.
For more information, get in contact with the team:
The Sight Loss Councils are also running the #FitnessForAll campaign, helping increase the accessibility of gyms. Head over to their campaign page, and show your support.
Free awareness training for facilitators
UK coaching and Metro Blind Sport have together developed free awareness training for sports coaches and staff at sports facilities. We highly recommend that people engaging with or facilitating sports at university take a look: Link
Local clubs and activities
Want to find local clubs and societies already offering accessible activities? Take a look at British Blind Sport’s activity finder.
Buying adapted equipment
- RNIB’s shop stocks products for all sorts of leisure activities and well as sports, for example board-games, cards and sewing.
- Want to get hold of a some specialist equipment to help blind, partially sighted or deafblind students get involved at your university? Check out these stockists:
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