The recently established South Yorkshire Goalball Club faces going out of existence if further funding is not found.
The club was founded following the success of this summer’s ISBA Goalball World Championships, which was held in Sheffield and helped to raise the profile of goalball in South Yorkshire.
Goalball is beneficial
The Paralympic sport is played with two teams of three throwing a three-pound goalball past each other.
The goalball has embedded bells, and this allows the players to judge their position and the movement of the ball.
Each player wears a blackout mask to ensure the game is played on an equal footing, so that everyone can play it.
Hanz Lorenzen and Sepp Reindle invented goalball in 1946 to help rehabilitate blind war veterans, and research has shown that it can improve the motor skills of participants.
“A great incentive”
The English Institute Of Sport offered a free venue for four sessions in September and October – as part of Achieve Potentials’ Legacy Programme – and a domestic tournament between two teams, South Yorkshire Reds and South Yorkshire Blues, was held on 13 October.
Kathryn Fielding, Achieve Potentials’ Disability Training and Development Officer, said: “The timing of the sessions [4.30pm to 6pm] meant that more people expressed an interest than could actually participate, but those who did thoroughly enjoyed the sessions.
“Staging a domestic tournament, at which they made their competitive debut, was a great incentive for the players, even if realistically it did come a bit too quickly in terms of their development.
“We had an average of eight people attending, which is a good number from a goalball point of view.
“They were a mixture of ages, genders and disabilities. One of the best aspects of goalball is that it is so inclusive.”
Waiting for funding
Ms Fielding also stated that Achieve Potentials is hoping to receive funding from the 2010 ISBA Goalball World Championships’ budget, as the tournament directors are waiting for some outstanding payments.
She added: “It is estimated that there has been an underspend so, once this figure is finalised, the intention is to make a donation to the new club.
“The plan is to also independently constitute the club to enable it to apply for local pots of funding. We also hope to receive some in kind costs from local partners.
“I estimate that about £4,000 is needed per season. The key costs that need to be covered are venue hire and coaching fees.
“We also need funding to purchase some equipment, and to pay for entry fees and travel to tournaments.
“Ideally, we would also like funding to be able to run a coaching course to attract new coaches and volunteers.
Ms Fielding confirmed that the South Yorkshire Sport Disability Group will be holding a meeting on Thursday 9 December, where the club’s problems will be discussed in detail.
Achieve Potentials will also be meeting with the Sheffield Royal Society For The Blind to see how they can potentially help the club.
Without funding, though, Ms Fielding admitted that the club’s future is in doubt.
She added: “We need the funding as soon as possible, as we don’t want to stop no sooner than we have started.
“It will be hard for the club to continue and it certainly will not be able to expand – with satellite centres in Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster – like we would like it to.”
This news story was self-published in December 2010.
Çolak, Tuncay et al (2004) Physical fitness levels of blind and visually impaired goalball team players. Isokinetics and Exercise Science, 12(4), 247-52.