Eight-year-old Holly Packerfrom Birminghamhas proved that visual impairment is no barrier to achieving your goals after taking part at the UK’s biggest athletics event for blind children. Holly, who has albinism and means she has reduced vision, was one of 100 visually impaired youngsters who took part in this year’s Boots Opticians Actionnaires Athletics Day at the prestigious English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
The track and field event, which was run by Action for Blind People and sponsored by Boots Opticians, brought together children from 12 Actionnaires clubs from the Midlands and North of England. Actionnaires clubs, run by Action for Blind People, give children with a visual impairment the chance to take part in a range of fun activities including ten pin bowling, pizza making and even skiing.
Holly, who took part in sprinting, long jump and the javelin, said: “It’s been really great especially as I came first in the running and threw the javelin very far.”
The event, now in its ninth year and the fifth in which Boots Opticians has supported, brings together blind and partially sighted children to take part in a range of track and field events which one day could help them launch a career as a Paralympic athlete.
Lesley Inganni, Operations Manager at Action for Blind People, noted that the day is the highlight of the year for many who attend the Actionnaires clubs on a regular basis.
Lesley said: “The day is a fantastic way of bringing children together through a range of sports which might not be available to them elsewhere.
“The event teaches the children that their sight loss is no barrier to achieving their goals while at the same time improving their social skills by encouraging them to mix and make new friends.”
Ben Fletcher, Managing Director of Boots Opticians, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this fantastic event. Supporting young people is really important to us, so it is a real privilege to be a part of providing these inspirational children with the chance to enjoy the excitement of sport which so many of us take for granted.”
The Actionnaires clubs are open to blind and partially sighted children aged four to 16, creating opportunities to develop their fitness and artistic skills and encouraging self-confidence and social interaction. Action for Blind People also provides information about sight loss for young people, activity breaks, as well as help with assistive technology and support groups for parents.
For more information about Action for Blind People’s Actionnaires clubs please visit: www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk/children