Sport in the community

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


Children and adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) experience exclusion, poverty, poor mental and physical health and bullying daily. There are an estimated 157,000 such children and adults living in the community of London.

Through our 22 accredited programmes and community sports clubs in London, we offer regular training sessions in 26 sports to 3000 athletes with intellectual disabilities. However, the actual competition opportunities we are able to offer our athletes in the Capital are very limited compared to the rest of the country due to the complexity of the region and a lack of funds.

Will you support us in being able to deliver 6 new sporting competitions in the sports of tennis and athletics for 520 disabled athletes in London?

At Special Olympics, we use sport to transform the lives of children/adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) so that they can have the opportunities for better physical and mental health, improved confidence, new friendships and inclusion in their communities – addressing their social disadvantage and helping them achieve their potential. We’re not just about sport - we integrate health screening, skills development, leadership training, and confidence building into all we do.

Sports competition is the heart of Special Olympics and a proven route to inclusion, friendships, confidence and better health. In London there is a distinct lack of opportunities for children and adults to take part in competitive sport, unlike their mainstream peers, for whom the opportunities are endless.

Being able to compete means being able to push personal boundaries and achieve one’s personal best. It also helps people with intellectual disabilities to acquire the confidence and social skills that will help their inclusion in society. The 6 competitions in our project will also provide pathways to other national/international competitions.

Being cheered on by non-disabled peers when competing creates acceptance. Our project also represents a real benefit to the wider London non-disabled community, as in watching our competitions and in seeing what our athletes can do as opposed to what they can't, people gain understanding and acceptance of those with intellectual disabilities. Likewise, the 2000 plus family members of our 520 athletes in this project will benefit from the support and camaraderie offered by other families living with a disabled child and benefit from the increased independence of their child/family member.

As an organisation, we are the largest provider of disability sports training and competition in Great Britain, supporting over 10,000 children/adults with intellectual disabilities through our 140 local programmes, led by 4,000 volunteers country wide. We are a grassroots organisation, non-elite, open to anyone with ID regardless of age or ability.

We are not an elite level sports event, like the Paralympics. For our athletes, excellence is personal achievement, a reflection of reaching one’s maximum potential.

Our aim is to create a unified generation, promoting inclusion/acceptance, using sport as the platform. London is a priority area to start creating this change and an area in which the need is great.

- There are 1.5 million children/adults in GB with intellectual disabilities (ID), with an estimated 157,000 in London
- Intellectual Disability is a lifelong condition and is caused by the way the brain develops
- Someone with ID has cognitive delays/significant learning/vocational problems. Common examples are Down’s Syndrome/types of Autism
-It’s the most common yet often “hidden” disability in the UK and is predicted to grow by 14% by 2021
-Children with ID are disadvantaged as they find it harder to learn, understand/communicate, often leading their lives without achieving their potential
- 8 out of 10 are bullied
- 1 in 3 are obese
- 78% do not take part in any sports activity

Special Olympics Great Britain

Location: Greater London, United Kingdom

We're proud of our organisation because we're a small staff team who support 4000 volunteers to transform the heath and inclusion of 10,000 athletes with ID each year, using sport as the platform. We're proud of our London project because we've involved 2,000 new athletes in the past two years.
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