Lancashire Lions

07 June 2018

Lancashire Lions Visually Impaired Sports Club is a community cricket club providing sporting and recreational opportunities for people who are either blind or partially sighted living in the north west of England including Greater Manchester.

In this piece, Sheraz Chohan, resident and founder of Lancashire Lions Visually Impaired Sports Club, talks about why their project means so much to him and why it’s so vital to so many local people.   

The project – Visually Impaired Sports and Social – supports residents to lead on different sports sessions and organise activities to socialise together. The group meet up for two hours, twice a week, to enjoy sports activities together. They also organise longer social activities that take place at the weekend, once or twice each month.

“My love for cricket is thanks to my father. He cricketed me out from a very young age. My father himself is totally blind so he would ask me to read out the runs to him off the TV screen. We wanted to play cricket but there weren’t any clubs locally that we could join.

Before the Lancashire Lions were formed, there was no competitive cricket in Lancashire for partially-sighted or blind people, so enthusiasts would need to travel to Durham or Yorkshire to play competitively. With Lancashire being such a successful cricketing county it seemed wrong for the county not to have its own competitive blind cricket team.

Although we started as a cricket club, we have kept growing and play other sports too, including Goalball. We play a lot of sports but the social side is just as important for us. Being involved with the project is more about having a sense of belonging than the actual sport.

The sessions consist of fun and sociable activities that require communication and teamwork, and following each session there is time for members to catch-up outside of the activities.

Many of our members have felt isolated at some stage, due to their disability or because of other personal circumstances and, over time, this can affect your confidence and self-esteem. It can make a massive difference to meet other people going through similar experiences.

Some members had never been on a train before the project started or travelled out of the county. Now, they have travelled up and down the country with the group, and feel confident to do so.

Many of the members wouldn’t have had the confidence to try some of these things on their own but together they feel empowered to have new experiences and support each other.

The project is all about helping each other. As older project members grow in confidence, they support newer members and then they start to feel empowered to help others.

They are feeling confident to steer the project, have a voice in what we do collectively and try new things.

Its given members a great sense of achievement too, that they have felt empowered in other parts of their lives. One member felt empowered to go and get a new qualification and he is now a personal trainer. Others have gone on to do college courses.

Without the funding, none of this would have been possible. It has given residents the opportunity to grow as people, take responsibility of the project and have a voice.”

Sheraz Chohan

Resident and founder of Lancashire Lions Visually Impaired Sports Club

 

The Trust has invested in Lancashire Lions Visually Impaired Sports Club using money raised by HealthForm through The Health Lottery.

 

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You have already completed an application for funding, are you sure you would like to submit another application? You should only submit another application if it is for a different project. If you want to amend an application that has already been submitted, please call us on 020 7749 9100.

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