Your Donation could fund:
Eclipse Eye shades. Blackout eyeshades for blind sport have recently been developed and are now a requirement at competition level to ensure an even playing field and athlete safety. It is important to be training using the kit that will be used in competition and players have to provide their own or share which is not ideal in terms of personal hygiene and cross contamination. Some students cannot afford to purchase their own shades and if you don’t have the confidence to ask to borrow or share equipment this may result in them not getting involved at all.
Goalballs. RNC aims to provide high level coaching opportunities for our visually impaired students. Within goalball training sessions, the balls are essential for the students to be able to practice and develop their skills with industry standard equipment. Ball life is limited so replacing broken equipment is important to ensure that we can continue to run sessions and continue to progress rather than students being left on the sidelines while equipment is being shared.
Sports Academy Team Tracksuits, Many of our students have never had the opportunity to belong to or be part of a team. So providing them with team kit provides them with an identity, a sense of belonging and a chance to take pride in their appearance and to be recognised for representing the RNC team. This often makes them look good which has a direct impact on how they feel and the confidence they demonstrate when wearing their kit.
They also feel very professional which in turn means we are more likely to see professional standards of behaviour from them as they are taught to understand that they are representing our team and we expect them to demonstrate certain behaviours and levels of professionalism. For example, students are not allowed to be seen smoking when wearing academy clothing as this doesn’t set a good example of others aspiring to be on the sports academy. This has in the past encouraged students to stop smoking altogether which has benefits to their health.
Many students are from lower socio economic backgrounds so may not have the ability to provide their own kit which is essential for engagement and being part of a team who represents the college in external competitions across the UK and Internationally. Providing them with kit means that everyone has the same opportunity and provides a level playing field. Students develop many skills when engaging in competition and travelling with their peers, many valuable life skills that will stay with them for life and following their transition from RNC.
£5,000 would fund an International Blind Football or Goalball competition entry (including flights, accommodation and food). A substantial gift that would provide once in a lifetime opportunities for students to experience sport at an international level. The opportunity to test hard earned skills against other teams from around the world provides RNC students with real incentives, targets and competitions to train for. Taking part has many benefits;
Adventure is one obvious result of international travel for RNC students. Many visually impaired sport team members have never flown before; most have never been to a foreign country where English is not the primary language; and almost all express a fear or concern about the possible problems that could and sometimes do develop. Before, during and after the trip, the sense of adventure and accomplishment exists. For some, this may be the greatest adventure of their lifetime, and an experience that will be remembered and talked about forever.
The learning that takes place during the international travel experience is another very apparent positive effect of international sport competitions. Hearing a new language, being immersed in another culture, shopping with foreign money in a store where English is not the primary language, visiting attractions and living as though a resident of a foreign country provides experiences that cannot be duplicated by reading or in the classroom. International youth sport competitions afford learning experiences in geography, foreign language, sociology, math (money exchanging), history, art and music.
Friendships, sometimes lifelong, develop during these travel programs. The International Blind Sports Federation aims to foster friendship among blind athletes, motivating as many blind people as possible to be involved in sporting activities on a regular basis. Competition often results in the reducing of psychological, sociological, cultural and language barriers that impede interaction with others. If you can play against someone on the court, you can almost always socialise with them off the court.
Communication and listening skills are often enhanced during foreign travel. How does one communicate without knowing the language? Most participants quickly gather this knowledge. Learning key words becomes a necessity. Listening and trying to understand a new friend who has a difficult time speaking English takes patience and attention. Students who are often considered shy may become more extroverted as a result of a foreign travel experience. Added to this is increased self-reliance and self-confidence, often a by-product of international sport competition experiences. Getting along in a foreign land provides a very satisfying feeling of accomplishment.
Playing against different styles of play in different facilities can enhance the individual skill levels of the competition tour members, honing their skills and increasing their abilities.
Another and the final benefit to be mentioned is the prestige of having competed internationally that results on the participant’s return to the UK.
As indicated, the benefits to visually impaired students who compete in sports competitions in foreign countries are numerous. Participating in an adventurous experience, learning in a variety of disciplines, friendship development, enhanced communication and listening skills, increased self-reliance, skill improvement, and enhanced prestige are included among the benefits. Although, the cost for participating on these international travel programs may be viewed as high, the lifetime benefits for visually impaired students that participate are priceless.
Although RNC students apply to their Local Authorities and other external agencies to fund their educational costs, this does not cover any ‘add on’ opportunities they may be offered as a result of their achievements in the Sports Academy. RNC relies on the generosity of our supporters to provide the extra team spirit that can last a lifetime.