Visually impaired youngsters enjoy Cobham coaching session

The Chelsea Foundation teamed up with Blind Children UK earlier this month as three visually impaired youngsters attended a coaching session with the club's pan disability players at Cobham.

The visually impaired youngsters - one of whom travelled from Plymouth for the opportunity - enjoyed structured coaching sessions and small-sided matches during the 90 minute session.

There was also a guest appearance from Stamford the Lion, with the players taking turns to take penalties against the Chelsea mascot, before pausing for group and individual photographs.

The event was designed to encourage players with disabilities to develop their health and independence and realise their full potential - and was part of a campaign to help raise awareness of the challenges faced by children with sight loss and their families.

'I really feel proud that the Chelsea Foundation is able to offer the opportunity for people to play sports that might not get those opportunities otherwise,' said Andy Rose, inclusion project coach for the Chelsea Foundation.

'Just to see the smile on all of the faces of the players and watching them all join in and have fun makes it all worthwhile. We want to be able to help people that struggle to access sport so we can get to a point where everyone in the UK that wants to play sport can.'

'It was a pleasure to invite representatives from Blind Children UK to take part in our pan-disability training sessions at Cobham,' added Rob Seale, disability inclusion officer for the Chelsea Foundation.

Theo Sergiou, 13, from Edmonton in North London, who took part in the session, said: 'Sometimes my vision impairment can make me feel a bit different to other children, but this wasn't the case at the training session at Chelsea. We all had a really good time and were made to feel like pros.'

Earlier this year the National Blind Children's Society (NBCS) became part of the Guide Dogs Family. This new partnership will not only secure the NBCS's future, but will also enable it to build on and expand services for children with sight loss and their families throughout the UK.

As part of the partnership NBCS has rebranded as Blind Children UK (www.blindchildrenuk.org).