Winchester Goalball Club on ‘Virtual’ Tour!
Are you fed up with lockdown? Finding it hard to be motivated to exercise? Eating too much chocolate 😊? We are, so we’ve set up our own club challenge. It will be a fun way to keep fit so we are all goalball ready for when we can start playing again.
We’ve all been missing each other and goalball and it’s been a long time since we’ve had the opportunity to see our friends from other clubs. So, we thought it would be a great idea to go on a virtual tour to visit every goalball club in the Great Britain! We been busy plotting the route. Can we cover 1,495.5 miles (2,406.8km) to visit 22 clubs in less than 67 days?! Run, walk, cycle, yoga, any form of movement counts even housework and gardening. Our deadline is Good Friday, 2nd April – so get those exercise boots on!
Keep your eye out on our Facebook and Twitter pages to track our progress. Don’t forget to welcome us when we arrive at your club! 💙
Winchester Goalball Club Becomes a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) 👏🏼
Registered Charity Number: 1189986
We are delighted to announce that Winchester Goalball Club has become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). There will be no noticeable changes for our members, but this opens the club up for further financial benefits, such as Gift Aid, and it demonstrates the public’s trust in the great work that the club does!
We would like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to Bridget, who has spent hours and hours putting our application together.
Winchester Goallball Club – May Parasport Club of the Month 💙
It’s fun for all the family at Winchester Goalball Club, who stress inclusion as the key driver of their rapid growth in recent years.
The Hampshire club have continued to engage dozens of players, ranging in age from eight upwards, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These outstanding efforts have seen them scoop the Parasport Club of the Month award for May.
Goalball is designed for blind and visually impaired participants, involving teams of three throwing a ball with a bell inside into the opponents’ goal, who try to stop it like goalkeepers.
All players wear blindfolds to ensure fairness, and therefore sighted players can also take part in domestic competitions.
The club put their ability to grow from a small taster session in February 2013 to a thriving, diverse body down to careful fostering of a community spirit.
“One of the things I really love about the club is the big, family spirit,” said Adam Knott, the London 2012 Paralympian who founded the club.
“The club has grown significantly through social media and outreach but we couldn’t have done that without people saying nice things about us.
“By constantly encouraging family and friends to get involved, we’ve created a bigger community, a bigger reach and more opportunities to talk about what we do.
“The atmosphere at the club is fantastic. We want to enthuse the players and their families with goalball and help our participants keep fit and active.
“We run a Family and Friends Day where they can come and play the sport, coach it and referee it. We also have a families and friends party at the end of each season.
“We want to do well, we want to win and we want to grow but we want to have fun first and foremost. That’s the fundamental thing about the club.”
The backing of Children In Need has helped Winchester launch and develop a successful U18 section, helping engage a new generation of players in a meaningful way.
A fundraising drive saw them run ‘Blind leading the Blind’, an innovative take on a ParkRun in which blind and visually impaired goalball players led sighted friends around a 5km course.
With the support of local groups, the fundraising mission raised just shy of £8,000 which will allow the club to take a group of young members on an outdoor pursuits trip to Snowdonia.
The COVID-19 pandemic and government social distancing guidelines have prevented Winchester from training, running tournaments and meeting as before.
Still, that has not dampened the community spirit coursing through the club and they have thrown themselves into social media campaigns to keep members engaged.
Most club members have submitted images of their #StayAtHome activities to share on the club’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, they’ve also run a successful virtual quiz to maintain social connectedness.
They are also planning a special Now That’s What I Call Lockdown series, encouraging members to submit daily feel-good songs to be collated into a playlist that will be their warm-up soundtrack when they return to training.
Ongoing efforts to circumvent the challenges of COVID-19 played a key role in their naming as Club of the Month, an award that means something special.
“The last time we all met was in March but the club is such a network for people to talk about their experiences and for young people to be active with people they can relate to,” says Knott.
“It’s really important that during this time when we don’t have those physical networks that we can meet in other ways.
“I’ve been incredibly proud of the whole club and it’s been so fantastic to have everyone’s buy-in to our social media campaigns. Everyone is keeping in contact, communicating and looking out for each other.
“We’re over the moon to be named Club of the Month. It’s a real testament to everything we’re doing and the friendly, family atmosphere we have at the club.
“It’s a massive team effort and we’re just delighted.”
Wave 105 – Cash4Clubs 🏃🏻♂️🏃🏽♀️
For the first time ever, Winchester Goalball Club will be running a weeks long residential for our players aged 13-15 years old in Snowdonia National Park. The trip will build on the group’s teamwork, confidence and independence skills as they try new challenges such as abseiling, climbing, coasteering, hiking etc.
To help raise money for this, we paired up with Wave 105 who would double any money we raised up to £1000. Our main challenge then, a ParkRun with a difference. The blind leading the blind.
It was a cool, rainy, soggy day, with plenty of mud underfoot, but this only added to the challenge and fun of the day! Players were paired up with a blindfolded parent or Club volunteer. Spare volunteers carried the Club flag, and assisted the group as a whole when approaching challenging parts of the Park Run (low tree branches, narrow paths, raised tree roots, extra muddy bits etc!).
Participants started cautiously, gaining confidence in each other as they worked out strategies to avoid obstacles and difficult terrain. Communication and trust was key – superb skills for good teamwork. After tentative early steps, the pace quickened and in some cases accelerated to a jog.
Every player and parent/volunteer completed the 5km circuit, and there were huge celebrations at the finish line. Not surprisingly, we were the last runners to cross the line, but speed wasn’t the objective of the challenge. The Park Run volunteers were happy to support us until we had all finished, and then joined the team to find out more about Goalball and congratulate the team on what they had just achieved.
To add to this fantastic event, we were then awarded with ‘Best Teamwork’ and ‘Best Fundraising Idea’ awards from Wave 105!! 😀
We ended the fundraising mission with an incredible £6654, in addition to donations from local councillors!
Winchester Goalball wants to say a huge ‘THANK YOU’ to everyone who took part, donated and supported the event. We have raised enough money to go to Wales and give some of our players an experience of a lifetime! 👏🏼
Bridget Knott – Paul Harris Fellow 👏🏼
At our EOS BBQ, Bridget was honoured with Rotary International’s highest award, the Paul Harris Fellowship, for her contribution to Winchester Goalball Club.
Since first becoming the treasurer for her Winchester Goalball Club in 2013, Bridget has thrown herself into every aspect of the sport – from coaching and fundraising to the governance – while never missing a tournament, no matter how far the travel to cheer the team on.
Bridget’s dedication to Winchester Goalball Club has ensured the sustainability of the team. This has created opportunity for hundreds of local visually impaired people to participate in a sport with many physical and mental wellbeing benefits.
The Paul Harris Fellowship – named after Rotary International’s Founder – is usually reserved for members who have gone above and beyond but in exceptional circumstances it is awarded for outstanding service to members of the community.
Her son, Adam Knott, who is the chairman of Winchester Goalball Club, commented: “Mum is a champion. She works tirelessly to raise funds for the club and manages so much behind the scenes.
“She has spearheaded our goal to establish a goalball community in Winchester and the surrounding area. Her dedication to the sport and the local visually impaired community has brought so many likeminded people together, which has such a positive impact on so many lives by reducing isolation and promoting healthy lifestyles. We can’t think of anyone more deserving.”
David Farthing, president of the Winchester Rotary, spoke about the award: “Many have contributed to the rapid growth and huge success of Winchester Goalball Club, but one person stands out as being pivotal to that success.
“Bridget’s passion and commitment to the sport, the club and the club members knows no bounds. It is indeed therefore a great privilege for Winchester Rotary to have the opportunity to recognise the work of someone very special by awarding Bridget Knott a Paul Harris Fellowship.”
Congratulations Bridget! 👏🏼
The 2018-19 Season Comes to an End 😢
As another season comes to its close, it’s time to reflect on what we have achieved this year! Here are a few of the End of Season statistics:
- Our Junior team won gold at the London Cup
- Our Novice squad came 2nd in the Novice League
- Our Intermediate squad came 2nd in the Intermediate League
- Our Elite team came 1st in the Elite League
- We had great success at all three finals tournaments
- Multiple players have been in the top 3 league scorers
On top of this, we held our Family and Friends Experience Day which has led to volunteers stepping up to referee and table officiate at tournaments, had multiple players attend GoalballUK Talent Camps and one of our elite players represent GB at the U23s European Youth Para Games.
Next season looks to be another fantastic one with hopefully more friendlies and tournament development for our Junior players, another push to help develop our non-playing members into officials and
We would like to thank all of our players, volunteers, family, friends, guide dogs, Peter Symonds, Children in Need, GoalballUK and additional private sponsors for your continued support for Winchester Goalball Club. Without you, we would not be the club we are today! 🙏🏼👏🏼
October 2018: Family and Friends Experience Day 🤩
With 30 active members, Winchester Goalball Club (WGC) is a thriving, busy Club. At training sessions and tournaments we are lucky to have a host of parents supporting the players and helping out whenever they can.
The Club decided to tap into this enthusiasm and hold a “Parents and Friends Experience Day”. This took place on Sunday 14thOctober with 15 eager recruits, including the Chairman of Goalball UK, John Grosvenor and his wife, Amanda.
Club Chairman and Head Coach, Adam Knott, and Alex Bunney, GB Men’s Assistant Coach, and WGC Elite Coach delivered the session, which ran from 10am-4pm at Peter Symonds College, Winchester.
The new recruits’ first task was to set up a court ready for play. This achieved, next came a brief introduction, using a warm up as an example, on working with blind and visually impaired people.
Our “recruits” were keen to understand more about playing Goalball, so after a practical lesson on how to defend and throwing, they were let loose on the court. The tuition must have been good, as we witnessed some superb “long and strong” defense positions.
After a brief lunch break, the session ramped up a gear with explanations on “How to be a Good Tournament Coach” (delivered by Adam), and the “Basics of Reffing and Table Work” (delivered by Alex). With over-loaded brains, the “recruits” put everything they had learnt into practice with a hands-on coaching, reffing and playing session.
Winchester Goalball Club would like to thank the delegates for their enthusiasm and support for the Club, and hope to see them cementing their newly acquired knowledge at both training sessions and tournaments in the future. You can see more photos here: Experience Day…
June 2018 – The End of Another Fantastic Season 👏🏼
We capped off another fantastic season with one of our whole club specials! On the 30th June, all players, parents and coaches bundled into Peter Symonds for 3 hours of action packed Goalball. This session gives everyone the chance to meet each other, for the old to pass expertise onto the new, and for the new to show the old that it’s not quite as hard as they make it look! It also gave us the chance to wish a ‘Goodbye and Good Luck’ to Kelsey who moves onto RNC to start a new adventure.
The season has been another one full of countless highs, numerous firsts and some amazing results. A few are:
- 3rd Place in the Novice League: Patrick H being the division’s 3rd top male goal scorer, and Rosie H ending the female 2nd top goal scorer.
- 3rd Place in the Intermediate League: Kelsey T ending the division’s 2nd top male goal scorer, and Karina L ending the female 3rd top goal scorer.
- Joint 1st in the Elite League: Adam K ending the top goal scorer.
The results combine to leave us in an AMAZING joint 2nd place in the overall national league – only one point behind the winners!
As well as the fantastic results, numerous players have made their way up the domestic levels, new players being invited to Great Britain Talent Camps and we celebrated our 5th birthday!
Next season already looks to be bigger and better with a push to have more individual player development, some training for our amazing parents/supporters/friends on the basics of goalball, and all of this made possible with the fantastic support of BBC Children in Need!
Winchester Goalball Club would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all of our players, coaches, families, sponsors and GoaballUK for what’s been another thrilling season! Now time for a break and to prepare for it all to start again in September!
March 2018 – Children in Need Grant Success 😀
Winchester Goalball Club are thrilled to announce that Children In Need have approved to support the club for another three years! We have been incredibly lucky to have their support for the past two seasons and cannot wait to continue to work with them to help grow our fantastic club!
Over the past two years, Children in Need have helped spread the word of Goalball through huge events and TV shows such as Chris Evans Car Fest and the BBC Big Life Fix and we cannot wait to see what else they have lined up for us.
As well as them helping us, WGC would love to promote them through all our members sharing posts on their social media pages and organising events to help raise some money so Children In Need can continue to fund other brilliant causes.
Thank You Children In Need – A BIG Pudsey high five! ✋🏼
February 2018 – Malmo Open 2018 🇸🇪
From the 8-11th February, Winchester Goalball Club took our third trip out to the Malmo Open. Taking a team of 5 players and 2 coaches we embarked on what would be a challenging group with players of the Swedish, Danish, Greek and British women’s national teams.
We ended the group with 1 win, 2 draws and 1 defeat, but our placing in the pool wasn’t decided until the very final game of the pool between Malmo and IFAS. If the game ended in a draw, we would end in 4th place, if a team won then we would end in 3rd place. Sadly the game ended 3-3 and we finished the group in 4th place, only -2 goal difference behind 2nd place which would have taken us to the semi-finals. So close!! 🙈
We sadly then concluded our weekend with an 8-7 defeat to a Finish team and ended the tournament in 8th place. Although a disappointing result, we left the tournament giving 100% and determined to better our result in 2019. A huge Congratulations to Fen Tigers for coming away with a silver medal! 🦁 Results can be found here.
We would like to thank Rotary Winchester and Stowe Family Law for their financial support in helping us play at the Malmo Open 2018 👏🏼 Also a big thank you to everyone for your support both from home and in Malmo! 👍🏼
Happy 5th Birthday to Us!!! 🎉🎂
February 2018 marks 5 years since the start of Winchester Goalball Club. So, who could think of a better time to look back through old photos just to see where we have come from…
Back in February 2013 we started with just three players, three coaches and numerous rotarians all wanting to have a go at Goalball! 🔵
It wasn’t long before the club was starting to grow and we had our own Novice and Intermediate teams…💪🏼
Before you knew it, we were winning awards both from GoalballUK and the local council! 🏆
And before we knew it we had won trophies, tournaments, National titles as the club continued to grow. We now had Junior, Novice, Intermediate and Elite teams as the club grew from strength to strength! 🥉🥈🥇
And now look at us…35 players, 9 fantastic volunteers, awesome family and friends support and still loving our Goalball!! 😀
Winchester Goalball Club would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our players, volunteers, sponsors, friends and family for all of their support over the last 5 years! Roll on the next 5…👏🏼
February 2018 – Round Two of Tournaments
The next round of tournaments for Winchester Goalball Club started off with our second Intermediate tournament in Bristol in December 2017. Two teams entered the tournament against some stiff opposition, and coached by Mike at his first tournament, the teams came away with 3rd and 5th place! Nice work!🥉
After eating too much over the Christmas break, it was then the turn of our Elite team to pull up the pads at the start of 2018. The squad made their way through to the Semi-Finals to be up against a Fen Tigers team consisting of three GB players – we came away victorious 7-6! This put us through to the final, and after coming back from being 6 goals down, we narrowly lost 12-9 and came away with a Silver medal 🥈 Maybe not as many mince pies next Christmas? 🥧
As January came to a close, for the first time in five years, Winchester Goalball Club fielded two teams for the Reading Novice Tournament. Our Winchester Kings battled hard and ended the day with four wins our of four…this didn’t mean a dead cert for Gold though. The final game of the day approached and Winchester needed RNC to win by less than 8 goals, or we would come away with Silver. RNC won by 7, which took it down to the number of goals scored to decide the winning team (drum roll please) 🥁 WE WON AND CAME AWAY WITH GOLD! 🏆
Whilst our Kings were storming through the day, it was the first outing for our Winchester Knights team, who in an arguably tougher group, came away with 8th place out of 10. This was a superb result for our young Novice players who have shown they have an amazing Goalball journey ahead of them! There were definitely smiles all round! 😀
December 2017 – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
We finished 2017 with a fantastic Christmas training session. The coaches donned their christmas hats, Santa onesies and reindeer antlers, and as all the parents tucked into some Christmas chocolates (they didn’t really) the players worked hard to finish 2017 with some superb Goalball. View the photos here.
It’s been another excellent year for Winchester Goalball Club with huge improvements from all players, numerous tournament successes and our first Junior tournament with Cambridge.
A huge THANK YOU to all our players, volunteers, families and friends, sponsors and everyone else for making 2017 such a special one! We’re really looking forward to seeing what 2018 will bring!
We would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you all in 2018 for some more Goalball fun!!
November 2017 – First Round of Tournaments
The first round of tournaments is over and it’s been a positive start to the season for Winchester Goalball Club. Our Intermediate teams started in Bristol with a silver and bronze medal. We compete again in a months time where we hope to better our performances and come away with gold!
Next up was Novice. We took a team with a mix of experienced and new junior players. Despite the results not going our way, there were some really positive signs and we’re all looking forward to see how this Novice team can develop.
Up next were our Elite team. Finishing third in the group stage, we lined up against a strong Northern Allstars team in the semi-final. A tough opponent with two GB players, we defeated Northern Allstars and were guaranteed at least a silver medal. In the final we came up against an un-defeated Fen Tigers team who were sadly just too much for us on the day, despite a valiant effort!
The next round of tournaments starts again in 3 weeks time and we’re looking forward to giving it our all and seeing how we have improved since our last outings!
August 2017 – CarFest for BBC Children in Need
Through our support from Children In Need, Winchester Goalball Club were very lucky to receive an invitation to exhibit Goalball at Chris Evans’ CarFest near Winchester.
On what was a scorching August day, Adam, Bridget, Rosie and Tom arrived bright and early ready to set up for what was going to be a day of outside Goalball accompanied by live music, performing ducks with dogs and a special visit from the Red Arrows. On a court made from tarpaulin, a 6m wide goal and enough sun cream to last the whole summer, we were set for what was going to be an awesome day!
Over the day we showed over 200 people how to play Goalball, including Pudsey Bear, and many many more learnt about our fantastic sport.
We would like to say a huge Thank You to Children in Need for their continued support of the club and we cannot wait to do more events like this in the future!
July 2017 – Winchester Goalball End of Season BBQ
As the 2016/17 season came to a close, Winchester Goalball Club hosted our biannual End of Season Training and BBQ. This event was our biggest yet with over 60 players, parents , friends, family and coaches attending. 3 hours of training was jam-packed with space-hopper races, rules quizzes, accuracy testing, blind giant Jenga and of course some games of Goalball. We all received our new hoodies and had the unveiling of our new team flag! 😊
Following training, we all made our way outside into the glorious sunshine (plenty of sun cream needed) to tuck into some deliciously cooked burgers, sausages, chicken, and of course the healthy options of salad and coleslaw! 🍔 We also managed a round of ice creams! 🍡
A huge THANK YOU to all of those who attended and those who helped organise! It was a resounding success and a fantastic way to end another great season for the club! See the pictures here…BBQ 2017