parkrun’s Visually Impaired scheme won the ‘best sport project’ category at the annual awards bash that recognises the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded good causes.
Making a difference
The initiative has been the most successful sports project in the country to get visually impaired people active.
£30m raised each week by National Lottery players
While there are around 1.56 million people with a visual impairment in England, less than 10% of them are regularly active.
Based on the original parkrun concept of 5k runs every Saturday morning, the event introduces volunteers to act as guide runners for those with sight loss.
Around 150 volunteer guides and people with a visual impairment were already enjoying the benefits of parkrun.
Our funding has helped double the number of people with a visual impairment taking part – and ensure more people experience the benefits of getting active.
“Before my health problems, I was a very experienced runner, but had given up on ever being able to run again,” says Terry, who is a visually impaired runner.
“I was invited to parkrun by friends to walk around the course. After I did it, the organisers asked if I would like to come again and asked for volunteers to walk or jog with me.”
Thanks to £132,750 of National Lottery funding, parkrun has been able to host taster days to introduce new visually impaired runners to the parkrun family across the country.
So far, more than 150 more people with a visual impairment have started running, walking or volunteering at events – and its impact has been recognised by the British public, who voted it as the nation’s favourite sports project.
Lottery players raise £30 million each week for projects across the UK.
Now in their fifteenth year, the National Lottery Awards recognise the huge difference that Lottery-funded projects have made to people, places and communities all across the UK since 1994.
Springing a surprise
The Manchester-based skate park, Projekts MCR, was also recognised with a surprise £100,000 National Lottery award.
“We were absolutely blown away when Joe McFadden from Strictly told us the news that we’d received our funding live on camera,” says John Haines, chief executive of Projekts MCR.
“We had no idea that was the real reason we’d been asked to attend the event.”
We want to create a space which welcomes, supports and appeals to children, their parents, core skaters and beginners – and this funding will make a huge difference to the future of the project
John Haines, chief executive, Projekts MCR
The project, which aims to improve mental and physical wellbeing through activity and community development, will now be able to make an even greater difference to people in the north west.
“We want to create a space which welcomes, supports and appeals to children, their parents, core skaters and beginners – and this funding will make a huge difference to the future of the project,” adds John.
Watch the awards
You can watch the moment Joe McFadden springs the surprise on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight. The surprise announcement is just one reason to tune in.
Watch parkrun, plus winners from six other categories, including art, education, environment, health, heritage and charity, pick up their awards.