For many Australians sport is something that’s intertwined with everyday life and a group of volunteers at Vision Australia Radio (VAR) are working to make it more accessible to the blind and low vision community.
Each Saturday, the Vision Sports Show hits the airwaves, bringing the latest from across the Australian sporting landscape to VAR’s listeners.
The two-hour show is produced and presented by a rotating team of eight volunteers, and combines what’s going on in Australia’s major sporting codes with coverage of sports from within the blind and low vision community.
One of those volunteers is Matt Lee, who has an extensive career in sports radio including 15 year at SEN, and lives with low vision due to glaucoma and anaridia. Having joined the sports show team a little over a year ago, Matt said he’s enjoying supporting people who are blind or have low vision to get greater access to sports coverage.
"I've never considered having low vision to be a reason I can't enjoy and discuss all sorts of sports and I know a large number of people who have vision loss feel the same way," Matt said.
"There's obviously sports like blind cricket and those sorts of things, but people with vision loss love the AFL and NRL and everything else too, what we want to do is to make the discussion about the whole sporting world more inclusive," he said.
Matt believes a combination of his lived experience as a person with low vision and knowledge of sports radio has proved to be a benefit to the show.
"People who are blind or have low vision do take in sport in a bit of a different way so, I think it's good to have somebody who they can relate to and who understands what they might want to hear," he said.
"I've got things like AFL accreditation as well, so that means we can do some things like included coverage from games and other events. We've started doing some live crosses to games and the races and offer different things like that which is great."
Fellow volunteer George Grosios, who has been part of the Vision Sports team for a number of years, also believes the show plays a vital role for people who are blind or have low vision and enjoy sports.
"There's obviously a number of different sporting programs people can listen to, but I think we provide another voice with a bit of a different approach and I think that’s important," George said.
"We give a bit of coverage to some of the less mainstream sports as well. For people who are blind or have low vision it can be difficult sometimes to find accessible information about those sports, so it’s great we can offer that," he said.
Unlike Matt, George had no prior radio experience before volunteering at VAR, but with more than six years under his belt as part of the Vision Sports team he's grown to enjoy being behind the mic.
"I stumbled across the then RPH network one night and they were playing the BBC feed of English Premier League game. I'm a huge soccer fan so I kept listening to the station and then got in touch with them and they said come in and volunteer."
"I'd never done any radio before and I’d never volunteered before. I was looking for an organisation to volunteer with and I was just lucky that I could find an opportunity where I could combine it with my love for sport."
The Vision Sports Show is broadcast on Saturday morning each week from 10:30am-12:30pm. Head to the Vision Australia Radio website to find out how you can listen in your area.