A NEW non-profit organisation is hoping to make sports more accessible to youngsters with visual impairments after parents found few activities little support available in the area.

Focus4Vision began two years ago when a group of partially sighted parents decided to come together to share support and advice with one another.

Over that time the organisation has grown substantially, converting into a non-profit in February and offering a wide variety of sporting sessions to blind and visually impaired youngsters.

Chair Brendan Bailey said: “There’s not much in Barnsley for the visually impaired and blind. I wanted to become a football coach for the blind and start a league.

“I attended a meeting about it and we decided the easiest route to make that happen would be to convert to a non-profit. They chose me as the chair because I’m kind of like a dog with a bone, once I get started on something I don’t stop.”

Currently they are providing regular goalball, football, cricket and karate sessions, with additional advice groups to help with more unique problems that visually impaired children face.

“My son has a visual impairment and will eventually become blind,” Brendan added. “Me and my wife who’s the welfare and safeguarding officer for the organisation spent years trying to find sports or swimming events for him but there’s none nearby.

“All these children want to socialise and get involved in some kind of sporting activities but can’t eventually it starts to really affect their mental health because they’re so isolated. This is something that can give them a purpose.”

Successful football players can be put onto the pathway to join the blind England squad, a part of the organisation’s push to grant more opportunities for partially sighted people in the area.

Children who have taken part have already begun to flourish and take great pride in the activities available to them.

Brendan said: “They’ve all really been enjoying it, my son’s over the moon. It’s all run by parents and adults who are affected themselves – they know how it feels to be in this situation and when a person comes to us everyone’s understanding.

“One kid came to us, he’s not particularly sporty but his mum decided to bring him along anyway. His mum and dad can’t believe how he’s taken to it he’s forever asking about football, his friends and the coaches, he can’t wait to get back to training.

“Children love it, it gives them a chance to socialise. That’s all new to them, there aren’t many other opportunities for them to make friends. It’s the reason we want to keep it growing I think the future’s bright for us.”

Sessions have begun again after they took an Easter break. Information on times and locations can be found on the organisation’s Facebook page.