Founded in 2012 by Mike Newman, the fastest blind man on the planet, Speed of Sight provides motoring experiences on track and off road to people with a variety of disabilities. The group is based in Salford.
Speed of Sight is committed to the promotion of opportunity for all, focusing on what people can do, rather than what they cannot. They believe that people who are able to take part in a sporting or physical activity find that it helps with their self-esteem, social interaction and physical and mental wellbeing.
Commenting on the activities provided, Mike, who now holds seven Guinness World Records, said: “The driving experiences have changed the lives of so many people, giving them the confidence that activities taken for granted by able-bodied people can still be enjoyed by disabled people.”
One such person who Speed of Sight has made a massive difference to is Chris Fisher, who has been attending the group for over 18 months. Chris sadly lost his sight in his late 30s due to a virus which ate away at his retinas and, as a result, had caused Chris to become housebound after struggling to deal with his new disability. Before losing his sight, Chris was an avid biker and a self-confessed petrol head. He heard about Speed of Sight from a friend and attended one of the organisation’s experience days.
Chris said: “At the experience day I had the most euphoric, life-changing, confidence-boosting experience I’ve ever had. I was speechless for at least 15 minutes, which is very unusual for me! The whole experience of feeling the speed of a car and the grip and feeling the wind against my face was incredible. The driving instructor made me feel so safe, being an ex-biker I didn’t want to look like Driving Miss Daisy but the instructor ensured I looked, or at least felt, like a pro.
“I was hooked from this day onwards because of the adrenaline alone. I’m now a proud Ambassador for Speed of Sight and if there’s any way at all I can help other disabled people feel the rush I feel when I get back in that car I will. I can’t put into words how much this organisation has changed my life.”
Speed of Sight has also devised activities that, whilst being a great group exercise and fantastic fun, show an insight into life without one of the senses. Activities such as corporate days where staff and/or clients are blindfolded while driving are good fun as well as increasing awareness of the difficulties faced and the importance of trust and communication.