Westway Climbing Centre partners with Metro Blind Sport to offer free 6-week climbing course to the blind and partially sighted

Over two million people in the UK living with sight loss, with 194,000 people in London alone, which causes a significant impact on their life. A recent survey by Sport England has shown that more than half (54%) of people with a visual impairment are inactive, achieving less than 30 minutes per week, and a number of barriers face blind and partially sighted people when accessing sport or physical activity.

In response, Westway Climbing Centre, which is operated by Everyone Active in partnership with Westway Trust, has teamed up with Metro Blind Sport to offer a six week climbing course to help more blind and partially sighted people get into the sport. Once completed, this free 6-week course which has been funded by the Active Londoner’s Fund, will enable those who are blind and partially sighted to climb independently.

The courses*, which begin on 15th and 17th November, are completely free – and can be signed up to here. All Westway climbing instructors have gone through visual awareness training, to ensure proper delivery of the tests. Climbers will have 12 hours of coaching, in order for them to pass their rope test.

“We’re delighted to be working with Metro Blind Sport on this project,” says Jez Tapping, Head of Climbing at Westway Climbing Centre. “There is a lot of research that shows increased feelings of loneliness, isolation and depression following diagnosis of sight-loss. We hope by being able to offer this programme we can give those who are blind or partially sighted the confidence to engage in physical activity and try a new sport.”

Charlie Raven, Sports Development Officer for Metro Blind Sport says, “Our aim is to provide as many physical activity opportunities for our members as possible and climbing is an exciting addition. On top of the many social, mental and health benefits we hope that this project will deliver to individuals, it is a perfect example of partnership working. By providing visual awareness training to many staff at Westway Climbing Centre, they will be better prepared to positively engage with future participants with sight loss. We are extremely grateful to the Active Londoner’s Fund for their support.”

Participants will be monitored before and after to assess their physical activity and assess feelings towards physical activity and mental wellbeing. If the programme is successful, it will become a regular occurrence to encourage the blind and partially sighted to engage in climbing. To aid confidence Metro Blind Sport would then provide subsidised casual usage per individual on the programme.

For more information please call Westway Climbing Centre on 020 8969 0992 or visit www.everyoneactive.com/westway-climbing

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