‘Being active made Lockdown more bearable’

Meet Bedfordshire Sight Loss Council member, Hubert. He volunteers for Sight Concern Bedfordshire and talks about his passion for playing visually impaired tennis and how doing work outs at home benefitted his mental and physical well-being during Lockdown.

It was whilst volunteering for Sight Concern Bedfordshire that he first received an email about trying visually impaired tennis. It is one of the fastest growing VI sports in the UK, and it didn’t take Hubert long to realise why. The first tennis session he went to was delivered by British Blind Sport and he absolutely loved it. As soon as he got home Hubert signed up with his local tennis club.

Hubert says:

“Riverside Tennis Club have sessions for able bodied players, wheelchair players, players with learning difficulties and visually impaired players. The club are really engaging and make sure that my time on court is enjoyable.”

Being able to play visually impaired tennis so close to home means a lot to Hubert, as there are limited opportunities to play sport in his area. He is now hooked on the game and wants to encourage more people to play. He said: “When you see it on TV, you think I’ll never be able to play that but it is a sport that has been adapted to allow blind and partially sighted people to play and enjoy. It is a mainstream sport being made available to the visually impaired community.”

Tennis has also given Hubert more opportunities to socialise. He says: “Playing sport is more than just being physically active, it is also a chance for me to be in social situations.”

Hubert also loves walking, with family and on his own. He uses an App called World Walking which provides people with the opportunity to do various virtual walk routes. He is using this App with his friends from the tennis club and are virtually walking to the four grand slam title venues. So far, they have walked to the French Open and are now making their way to the Australian Open. Hubert says: “Being part of a group is a great motivator, knowing that you are working towards a common goal pushes me forward.”

When not playing tennis or walking, Hubert likes to remain active at home by doing core and weight training as well as using his stepper machine for additional cardio workouts.

He uses his Apple Watch to track his activity and complete the daily goals that he sets himself. Working out during lockdown was vital for Hubert’s physical and mental well-being.

He said:

“Being active everyday made my lockdown situation more bearable. I gave myself goals to achieve, to make sure I wasn’t just sitting around doing nothing. I wanted to make sure I was doing something positive with my day.”

As an active member of the Bedfordshire Sight Loss Council, Hubert is keen to find more opportunities for blind and partially sighted people to stay active and take part in sport. Hubert wants to liaise with local gyms to make them more inclusive and accessible. He says: “Gyms can be difficult for blind and partially sighted people to attend. I want to give local operators visual awareness training and tips for making access

more inclusive. Simple things such as staff saying hello and offering help or grouping equipment together to avoid big distances between cardio machines can make a really big difference.”

As a leisure operator there are a few things that you can do to help blind and partially sighted people come to your leisure centre. Take a look at this handy guide here and encourage more people to be as active as Hubert.


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Publication date: 20 May 2021

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