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British Blind Sport First Steps programme goes national

Obesity and inactivity are two major challenges facing this country. To combat these issues, the government recommends 60 minutes per day of physical activity for children aged between 5 and 18 years old. However, only 32% of boys and 24% of girls are currently meeting these guidelines.

Photo shows contents of First Steps pack with jingle ball and activity book

Many children with a visual impairment struggle with physical activity due to the lack of inclusive PE teaching and adaptive lessons at school. With over 25,000 visually impaired children in the UK, there will be a large number who are at risk of obesity and inactivity. British Blind Sport is uniquely placed to solve this issue with our First Steps programme.

National charity, British Blind Sport are pleased to announce the expansion of First Steps across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

First Steps is a programme conceived by British Blind Sport to empower and encourage children between the ages of 3–11 years old with a visual impairment to develop early developmental movement skills and to become physically active. 

Having trialled the programme in Yorkshire, West Midlands and the North West with huge success. It is now going national. We have the resources to help 450 families over three years and have designed an innovative activity pack to give to First Steps families. It includes all the tools children need to take their first steps towards leading a more active life.

Video about First Steps with audio description

Watch British Blind Sport First Steps video (audio description)

The First Steps activity pack is completely free and includes:

  • Audible ball: A bright and bouncy ball called Jangles with ball-bearings inside to allow the child to hear the ball
  • Activity booklet: Simple and enjoyable games that encourage the entire family to play together
  • Progress poster: Tracking each child’s achievements to encourage habitual behaviour with a fun sticker chart

British Blind Sport's aim is that the First Steps pack will help children learn the basics in a fun and supportive environment. So they can grow in confidence and capability, and be able to take their next steps to a healthy lifestyle by joining into activities and sports clubs in their local areas.

Programme feedback from a proud parent:

"My little one can now kick a ball, which he couldn’t manage at the start of this project. He can now confidently throw the ball very well and if close enough, he can catch the ball. This is amazing progress for my little boy."

British Blind Sport Chief Executive, Alaina MacGregor, is looking forward to seeing the impact that the programme has across the nation. She said:

"First Steps is a project very close to our hearts at British Blind Sport and we’re so pleased to see it develop nationwide. It has had huge success in the areas it has previously been introduced to, with all members of the family benefitting from the unique aspects of the project. Siblings are able to play together more independently, and parents are able to see a marked difference in their child’s physical ability. Children with a visual impairment grow in confidence and ability so much that they are able to join in with local, accessible activities, which they may not have felt comfortable or able to do before they met Jangles!"

Jane Jacobs, British Blind Sport First Steps Officer, said:

"I’m really excited to be taking First Steps nationally.  It is a lovely project and we’ve already seen the difference it has made to the families in the regional roll out. Now, we get to meet and help families all across the UK and show them the difference that physical activity can have upon their child’s development and general happiness. I can’t wait to start meeting the families and help them take their first steps toward an active life!"

First Steps will be launching nationwide on Friday 10 July at 6pm.

For more information about First Steps please visit British Blind Sport website or register for your child’s First Steps pack here (online form) 

Please contact First Steps Officer Jane Jacobs for more information, email firststeps@britishblindsport.org.uk or call 07957 719 251.