Sight Village Birmingham – Round 1
Every year, a large number of visitors travel to Sight Village exhibitions to find out more about the latest technology, equipment and support services available to people who are blind or partially-sighted. Many people who have a visual impairment (along with family members and friends) find it useful to visit the exhibition to try out and experience demonstrations of assistive technology and specialist products by the experts.
Sight Village also welcomes a wide range of professionals, who support people with visual impairments, and businesses looking to better meet the needs of their employees and customers.
What an opportunity, then, for England and Wales Blind Golf to meet potential new members, players and guides!
Our exhibition stand consisted mainly of our new video, demonstrating how Blind Golf is played and the various methods and techniques adopted by our Sighted Guides. The video features many EWBG members at this year's Training Weekend, and is voiced by a very talented aspiring young actress. We wee also able to hand out leaflets outlining the work of EWBG and how to join.
Our main method of attracting "customers" was through the use of a chipping net and putting mat. We used standard clubs and balls, with indoor practice balls in the net. Although this is only a slight resemblance to the full game we play, it did give some blind people their first experience of holding and swinging a golf club and, eventually, striking a ball. This was a good reminder for me of how physically demanding the work of our guides is. My knees were very painful after the first day! It also demonstrated the complexity of the motor skills involved in a successful golf swing, and served to highlight the accomplishments of our blind golfers.
We spoke to a few people who had some prior golf experience, but who had subsequently lost their sight and, hopefully, some of these will become new members of EWBG. The chipping net also attracted a few sighted golfers, who happened to be working with other exhibitors, or assisting visually impaired visitors. We did not allow their interest to be wasted and our Secretary now has the contact details of several potential new guides.
Interestingly, we had several enquiries from organisations asking if we could help them to provide opportunities for their VI clients to experience the game of golf. These included charities working with blind children, Local Authority Children's Services Sensory Support Teams, Local Voluntary Societies and teams of Rehabilitation Officers.
Watch out! We may be looking for members to volunteer to help to promote Blind Golf to such groups in their local areas.
Neil & Clara Baxter, Ron & Steph Tomlinson, Barry Ritchie and Steve Beevers
Sight Village Manchester – Round 2
Following on from a successful Birmingham we took the exhibition stand to Manchester Sight Village. This venue, although smaller than Birmingham, was well attended by both exhibitors and visitors.
This was round 2 and everything we achieved in Round 1 at Birmingham we achieved here. We had a lot of interest from both individuals, organisations that support blind people, blind support professionals and potential members. The video attracted much attention as it was easier to be heard and now can be seen via a link to YouTube on our website http://www.blindgolf.co.uk/index.php?page=how-is-it-done
Ron & Steph Tomlinson and Peter & Margaret Hodgkinson
We are now planning Round 3 London Sight Village
Sight Village London – Round 3
Neil & Clara Baxter and Ron & Steph Tomlinson