The Swindon Bats group for the visually impaired hosted a bowling match against local MP Justin Tomlinson on 11 November to raise awareness in the local community for the group.
Taking place at the Tenpin bowling alley in Shaw Ridge, several members of Mr Tomlinson’s office were also invited to test their bowling prowess against the Bats members, who bowl at a competitive level in the National Blind Tenpin Bowling League.
The MP and his team were given goggles meant to simulate varying degrees of visual impairment, from sections of vision blacked out to fully blindfolded, so they could appreciate the difficulty and skill involved in bowling for the Bats.Robin Mansfield is the head representative for the Swindon Bats, and said: “We host 2 games a week for anyone with a visual impairment to attend. We play in 2 different leagues nationally, and are in the top 12 teams, with one team as national champions.
“The games are played on a handicap basis depending on the level of visual impairment, but we have completely blind bowlers beating those who have limited vision. The Bats also go on theatre trips, museum visits, boat trips and to the Longleat Safari Park amongst other activities. It’s about interaction, and getting those with vision impairment their confidence back.”
Justin Tomlinson said: “They have an incredibly active social calendar, and really stand out as a group of individuals in the community. I think they are very important to social inclusion for disabilities, and we try to promote them as much as possible
through the council contacts to local business’. They are really helping Swindon to stand out at a national level.”
If you want to get involved with the Swindon Bats, you can get in touch with Robin Mansfield by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Members meet every two weeks at Craven House in Swindon from 2pm – 4pm.