New five-year strategy sets out how BBS will develop its services to engage, support and ensure quality experiences for blind and partially sighted people in sport.
British Blind Sport (BBS) has today 1 February 2022) published its Strategic Plan for 2023–2027. The 5-year strategy outlines the organisation’s core mission, vision, values and overarching objective of increasing blind and partially sighted people’s participation in sport, while also leaving a lasting legacy around the 2023 IBSA World Games.
There are almost 2 million people in the UK living with sight loss. This number is set to increase to over 4 million by the end of 2050. Research has found that half of blind and partially sighted people are always or frequently limited in the activities that they would like to take part in. This includes sports and fitness and access to volunteering opportunities.
The new strategy outlines how BBS will use strategic funding, rigorous research and a strong network of community organisations in the sport and slight loss sectors to tackle inequalities, level up access and help more blind and partially sighted people get active and play sport.
Over the next 5-years BBS will:
- Reach over 30,000 BPS people through its programmes and platforms.
- Engage with over 2000 people through its freely accessible Have a Go Day programme.
- Work with over 500 young people and their families to create positive early sporting experiences.
- Work with sporting and non-sporting partners to deliver a cohesion programme to reach over 1500 older people.
- Reach more blind and partially sighted people from ethnically diverse communities, including expanding resources into different languages.
- Provide tailored support to at least 50 sporting and sight loss organisations, as a system partner, to ensure they provide improved sporting and physical activity opportunities and experiences for blind and partially sighted people.
Work has already begun on delivering key elements within the strategy. BBS received an investment of £1 million of government and National Lottery funding from Sport England to co-deliver the ambitions of its Uniting the Movement strategy, which will be used to support the sector to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis over the next five years.
In 2021, BBS established a new 3-year partnership with the RNIB, funded by Sport England, to deliver an ambitious £1 million programme called See Sport Differently. The three organisations will work together to develop opportunities for blind and partially sighted people to access and participate in sport, with a mass participation event to take place in April 2023.
The IBSA World Games is the largest high-level international event for blind and partially sighted athletes. Following a successful joint bid to host the event from BBS, Birmingham City Council, Sport Birmingham, UK Sport and the University of Birmingham, the World Games is set to take place in venues across Birmingham and the wider region from 18th-27th August 2023. This will be the first time the Games have been held in the UK. Over 70 nations will travel from across the world to compete in 11 different sports, with qualifying tournaments for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.
Alaina MacGregor, CEO of British Blind Sport
“As an organisation, we aspire to create a visible difference through sport, knowing that sport and physical activity can address numerous issues including social isolation, loneliness, health inequalities and confidence. Our 5-year strategy signals our intention to work with partners and other stakeholders to instil confidence back into both the sight loss and sport sectors by demonstrating what we can achieve together can create a visible difference for many.”
Sallie Barker, Chair of BBS
“Our new strategy sets out an ambitious vision for our future, building on the solid foundations of the last 46 years. BBS will continue to champion sport and physical activity for blind and partially sighted people and use our expertise to deliver inclusive initiatives, so that more blind and partially sighted people can feel the benefits of, and advocate for, an active life."
Jeanette Bain-Burnett, Executive Director of Sport England
“Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy is designed to ensure that everybody has the opportunity to engage in sport and physical activity. We have seen through our research that activity levels for disabled people are lower than those without a disability, and this is something that needs to change. This has been reflected in our recent System Partner award to British Blind Sport, which gives this valued partner a five-year platform to tackle inequalities at increased levels of funding. I welcome this strategy and hope that it helps to break down the barriers that have prevented blind and partially sighted people from previously engaging in sport and physical activity.”