The Sutherland Shire’s blind and low vision community has been provided with a new sporting and social opportunity thanks to some generous community support.
The Shire Woodworking Club in Lilli Pilli has recently donated a hand-made Swish table to Vision Australia’s Caringbah Centre, which the not-for-profit organisation is extremely grateful for.
“The Swish table is an amazing donation. The members of the Shire Woodworking Club have obviously put a significant amount of time and effort into its construction and it’s definitely something that will benefit the blind and low vision community in the Sutherland region,” Jodie Cox, Vision Australia Sydney South and South West Regional Manager, said.
“Isolation can be a challenge for many people who are blind or have low vision, but thanks to this donation we’re now able to provide our clients and the wider blind and low vision community the chance to take part in a sport that is fully accessible to them and also provide them with an opportunity to socialise with others,” Mrs Cox said.
Developed in Australia, Swish is a form of table tennis designed specifically for people who are blind or have low vision. In a game of Swish, players use a paddle to hit the ball under a solid partition, rather than over a net.
The partition is situated at a height so that players with various levels of vision do not have an advantage over players who are blind and the ball contains bells to help players track it.
Club Secretary Graham Ethell said the Club was more than happy to take on the challenge of building its first Swish table.
“We are quite involved in the community and this sounded like a great opportunity for us to help out Vision Australia and people who have vision loss. It’s the first Swish table we’ve built, and it was an interesting project for us as well.
“A Swish table is about the same width as a regular table tennis table, but they’re different in length depending if it’s one for children or competition, so there was a fair bit of research that we had to undertake initially to make sure we got the dimensions right.
“Our President Ian Rudd designed the whole project using a computer program and Club member Ray Tregoning constructed the table and eight paddles over a two month period, with willing assistance from other Club members as required. All up the project involved a total of 45 hours of design and construction.”