Black Country SLC delivers vision awareness session

Black Country Sight Loss Council delivered a vision awareness session to staff at Duncan Edwards leisure centre yesterday. The aim was to increase the accessibility of leisure facilities for blind and partially sighted people.

This follows their work with the centre last year to create accessible signage and wayfinding. This to ensure blind and partially sighted (BPS) people can navigate the facility more easily.  Discussions were held about how the accessibility and navigation of their website and facilities could be improved for BPS people to access their centre.


Martin Symcox, Head of Sport & Development at TPT, is standing at the front of the room with SLC member, Steve. They are demonstrating how to guide someone.

Image shows Martin Symcox, Head of Leisure and sport Development for Thomas Pocklington Trust, and SLC member Steve, delivering training to leisure centre staff members


The vision awareness session gave an overview of the barriers faced by BPS people. This includes challenges in accessing the website and mobile apps, and when physically attending and navigating the centre.

Additional topics included:

  • how to communicate effectively
  • ensuring the environment is safe and accessible
  • how to support and guide blind and partially sighted people around a leisure facility.


Members of Duncan Edwards leisure centre are in pairs during a practical exercise on how to guide someone one.

Staff members from Duncan Edwards leisure centre participating in training

Feedback from the session

Martin Symcox, Head of Leisure and Sport Development, Thomas Pocklington Trust, said:

“We had great interaction from the DB Leisure team in our delivery of visual awareness training at the Duncan Edwards Leisure Centre. It is our aim to connect local organisations with local blind and partially sighted people. By doing this we can bring about local change and open up new opportunities.”


Ian Prosser, Duty Manager for Duncan Edwards leisure centre, said:

“We really valued the session today and listening to the volunteers talk about their experiences. I feel the training has given me the confidence to support someone with a visual impairment who may access our leisure centre.”


Ashleigh Bryant, Sight Loss Council coordinator, West Midlands, added:

“Staff were really engaged throughout the vision awareness session. Our SLC members were able to share their lived experiences and offer advice on ensuring aspects of the centre are accessible for blind and partially sighted people. At the end of the session, staff members participated in sighted guide training wearing our simulation spectacles. Staff were very positive about this interactive experience and felt they benefitted from the awareness session.”


Steve Keith, Black Country SLC member, said:

“I found the staff willing to engage and come forward with suggestions and ideas. They appeared to appreciate the presentation, which I also found very thorough and easy to engage with.

“I enjoyed being involved with the presentation and the interaction with the team during the sighted guide training.”


Staff from Duncan Edwards leisure centre are participating in a sighted guiding exercise. One person is guiding, the other is wearing sim specs.

Staff members are shown during a sighted guide training exercise

Free resource for leisure organisations

If you are a leisure-based organisation, take a look at the free toolkit that Thomas Pocklington Trust created earlier this year with UK Coaching This online resource is free of charge and ideal for all customer focussed staff within a leisure centre.

If your leisure organisation is interested in understanding how you can receive vision awareness sessions for your staff, please contact Martin Symcox at


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Publication date: 27 February 2023

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