The Manx Blind Welfare Society (MBWS) has launched its new activity, acoustic shooting, with a successful open day attracting more than 100 people at Corrin Court in Onchan.
Acoustic shooting was designed for the visually impaired, but is open to everyone, and involves using adapted rifles fitted with special sights which measure the level of light reflected from the target and convert it to sound.
Participants wear headphones to hear the sound, which becomes more frequent the closer they are to the target.
MBWS chief executive Ian Cooil said: ‘We were delighted with the turn out, it far exceeded our expectations, and included a good mix of age and gender, and most importantly a wide range of those with a visual impairment and members of the general public.
‘The feedback has been tremendous, especially from our blind and visually impaired members.’
The charity now hope to hold a series of open days resulting in a regular club night being established.
‘Before the next public open day we will be holding two closed sessions exclusively for those with a visual impairment following which we will establish regular club sessions,’ says Ian.
‘There is no upper or lower age limit, it is available for any level of sight impairment and most mobility issues can be catered for.
‘There will be opportunities to help us by volunteering to assist during acoustic shooting sessions, and we will also be offering corporate teambuilding events.’
It is also hoped that the initiative could lead to acoustic shooting becoming competitive on the island in the future.
‘We hope to enter the British Blind Shooting Championships next year although this will be dependent on local shooting standards.
‘We will be taking part in regular UK national competitions after the regular club sessions go live,’ added Ian.
‘We’re planning to have a number of challenges to sighted groups during the course of the year, possibly launching these as part of the inaugural Isle of Man Vision Awareness Week which will take place in September.’
Among those to try out the new activity were president of Tynwald Clare Christian, Community, Culture and Leisure minister Graham Cregeen, Member of the Legislative Council Geoff Corkish and Onchan MHK David Quirk.
MBWS visually impaired shooting co-ordinator, Dave Wilson, said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for the island’s visually impaired to take part in a sport they never imagined they would.
‘Acoustic shooting is a long-established sport, there has been almost two years of planning, the facilities have been inspected and cleared by relevant authorities.
‘We’re very proud to be able to offer this sport at Corrin Court, as there are fewer than 30 clubs with these facilities in the UK.’
MBWS provides supports more than 600 people with serious sight loss in the island.
Visit www.mbws.org or www.facebook/manxblindwelfaresociety