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Blindfolded Run for Dorset Blind Association

Dorset Blind Association’s annual run returned to Bournemouth this week.

The local charity’s fifth run is in aid of visually impaired people across the county and is this year exclusively for students and staff of local schools and universities including Poole College and Bournemouth University.

The run was due to take place on Wednesday November 26 and was the charity’s first student and staff only event.

The event was jointly organised by the Dorset Blind Association and Bournemouth University Students Union.

Ian Jones, head of Community Partnerships at Bournemouth University said: “I am delighted that Bournemouth University are collaborating with the Dorset Blind Association on such an inspirational event. Being part of the local community is very important to us and something that we actively encourage.”

It also included a twist on its usual form. Instead of a normal individual run, pairs of runners were able to opt for the ‘Blindfold challenge’. For one half of the race a member of the pair would be blindfolded and guided by their team mate and during the second half the roles would be reversed.

Participants ran from Boscombe Pier to Bournemouth and back, changing the blindfold over at the halfway point.

Jaya Da Costa, fundraising manager for the charity, said the run is designed to get people to think about sight loss.

She said: “The challenge was inspired by blind club member Chris, who mentioned that instead of sympathy he’d like people to ‘walk a mile in his shoes’.”

Ms Da Costa added that the charity provides activities for people with sight problems in Dorset, helping them to “build their confidence, and do things they never thought they’d be able to do.”

They offer social activities to help with the practical and emotional difficulties of losing your sight.

She added that this event is all about raising awareness and “trying to help the public understand what sight loss is like.”

Bournemouth University’s Student Volunteers group helped at the event, using it as a Make a Difference volunteering day. MAD volunteering days are one off opportunities for students at the University to volunteer in the community. A team of students marshalled the run making sure no one lost their way.