All York parkruns to be accessible to people with sight loss 

Bec Horner

Bec Horner

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All York parkruns to be accessible to people with sight loss 

A workshop being held on the 11th May at the Folk Hall in New Earswick will ensure all parkruns in York and Selby are fully accessible for people with sight loss.

Amanda Cooper, a parkrun leader at New Earswick recently got in touch with MySight York to discuss making the three York parkrun courses at New Earswick, Heslington and the Knavesmire more accessible. They didn’t have any VI (Visually Impaired) guide runners and they wanted to change that. Amanda said:

“The New Earswick parkrun core team received a request for a guide runner for someone who was visually impaired and as we  didn’t have one we looked into how to provide this service.  parkrun welcomes people of any age or ability to run or walk a timed 5km course for free, every Saturday morning at 9am, so we searched around until we found a VI guide runner from another parkrun who was free to help.  

“This made us want to improve access to our parkrun for everyone. So together with MySight York and an experienced VI guide, we have set up training for a group of parkrun volunteers.” 

Caroline Robertson at MySight York immediately started looking into funding for the training and kit and secured it through HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust. As guide runner training in the North was both expensive and complicated, local runner Mark Harney, already a qualified VI guide runner stepped in offering to run a workshop locally to give people the confidence to be a guide.

Caroline said: “MySight York are delighted to be involved in this project. It fits perfectly with our charities strap line “live well with sight loss” and our aim to ensure communities are accessible for everyone. We are looking forward to seeing more people with sight loss enjoying parkrun very soon.”

The training workshop on the 11th May, runs from 10.30am to 1pm and has 15 places available.

At the workshop Caroline from Mysight York will explore with delegates what it might be like to live with sight loss using both theoretical and practical exercises. Kelly, a visually impaired runner herself, will attend the workshop to offer an insight into what someone with sight loss needs from a guide. And Mark will run through all the requirements of a VI guide runner followed by practical guide running sessions at the New Earswick parkrun course.

There will be lots of opportunities to ask questions and practice new skills.

People will come away with the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to be a successful VI guide runner, making parkrun in York and Selby truly accessible for everyone.

MySight are keen to attract guide runners from Selby as well as the York area and would like all York runners to be prepared to be a guide runner at any of the three parkruns in the city.

To book your place get in touch with or call her on 01904 636269


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