Supporting sport for the vision impaired

By andreasvendsen on September 21, 2014
Halberg Disability Sport Foundation and Harcourts Foundation

Harcourts BCRE business owner Graham Viall (left) and Harcourts CEO Hayden Duncan (right) were soundly defeated at swish ball by Cassie.

As a partially sighted or blind young person, it’s an incredible feeling to be able to take on a sighted opponent in sport and win.

That’s the feeling Cassie, 21, had after well and truly defeating both Harcourts CEO Hayden Duncan and Harcourts Manurewa business owner Graham Viall in a game of swish ball.

Swish ball is similar to table tennis, but with modifications to make it suitable for people with impaired vision. The ball moves so fast that sound becomes more important than sight in the game.

Cassie took on Mr Duncan and Mr Viall at the Blind and Low Vision Education Network New Zealand (Blennz) in Manurewa, where she lives as part of the Kickstart programme. Cassie and up to nine other young people live in the Kickstart unit for a maximum of two years before they move on to independent living.

Mr Duncan and Mr Viall visited as representatives of the Harcourts Foundation, the charity arm of the real estate group.

The Harcourts Foundation is a partner of the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, and through fundraising they support disabled Kiwi children and young people participate in and benefit from sport.

Recent grants helped pay for the modification of the swish ball table, as well as two tandem tricycles, which all the children and young people at Blennz enjoy using.

Hayden Duncan says it’s wonderful to see the students gaining so much enjoyment from equipment the Harcourts Foundation has helped fund.

“They say this is the first swish ball set in New Zealand, so we are thrilled we have played a part in that. And the tandem trikes are great fun and everyone at Blennz gets to use them – even the early childhood students. Riding a bike is part of childhood everyone should experience. ”

The Harcourts Foundation formally aligned with the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation earlier this year. It means a portion of the money the Harcourts Foundation raises each year goes directly to Halberg.

To raise more money, the Harcourts Foundation is holding a black tie evening on the 9th of October at the SKYCITY Convention Centre. The “Halberg Sport for Life Dinner” will feature a panel of New Zealand sporting greats including Olympic rowing champion Rob Waddell, Paralympic gold medal winning cyclist Phillipa Gray, Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry and All Blacks mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka, as well as auction items, a three course dinner and beverages.

All funds raised will go directly to Halberg. Tickets cost $210 + GST or $2000 + GST for a table of 10. For further information and to buy tickets contact Annah Laird or phone 04 801 1242.