Over a year ago, Joanne Reader from charity Selby District Vision was looking for a venue to hold Vision-Fit seated exercise sessions with instructor Jo Sparks. When she approached Selby College and its Sports Development Officer, Ed Grady, the perfect partnership was formed!
Monthly classes for the visually impaired members of the group organised by Selby District Vision have taken place at the college ever since, with our BTEC Level 2 and 3 Sport students supporting additional elements in the sessions and taking part in them, as well as helping the members with their mobility and chatting to them after the sessions when they have a drink in the college Coffee Shop.
On Tuesday 28th November, Jonathan Cowap from BBC Radio York attended one of the classes held at Selby College and was really impressed by what he saw. The presenter interviewed Ed, our students Jess Culip and Ryan Silman, members of Selby District Vision and Vision Fit’s fantastic leader Jo Sparks for a special extended feature on his morning show on the 30th November.
The partnership is a brilliant opportunity for the students to socialise and work with people of all ages in the local community and run a session as part of the volunteering element of their Sports Leaders course. The sessions are a lot of fun for everyone involved and not only provide members with an opportunity for some exercise but also help to reduce isolation, which for some is a key reason for getting involved.
Speaking of the sessions, Ed said: "The classes provide a great real-life experience of coaching for our students and it really takes them out of their comfort zone. At the first session they were quiet and nervous, and a bit hesitant to get involved, but now they are the first to come to me to see if they can get involved, which is great to see!”
Two of the ladies that take part in the session, Veronica and Margaret, said, “The students are just brilliant and the class caters for all abilities”. They added: “We have never done anything like this before but we really enjoy it, to be trying something new at our age is fantastic.”
They went on to say how the exercise group has encouraged some of them to also come to the charity’s weekly social groups and coffee mornings and for anyone who has sadly lost their partner and now lives alone or relies on public transport they provide a great support network.
The society, which first formed back in the early 1960s, is committed to helping people experiencing sight loss, within the Selby District. There are around 2,000 people living with sight loss in the area today. The charity is dedicated to reaching those individuals, assisting and supporting them however they can.
The college and charity are looking to increase their links in the future and work with students in other departments, so watch this space!
You can hear Jonathan speak to Ed Grady and our students Jess and Ryan in the broadcast in the link below:
Published: Thursday 18 Jan 2018