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SOEH will continue to work in partnership with a number of agencies to create and sustain opportunities for people with a learning and or physical disability to become involved and stay involved in sport and physical activity through the continued development of SOEH training sessions and regular competitions. We also aspire to teach our athletes to enjoy winning and be gracious in loosing and join the healthy, competitive but inclusive atmosphere we try to create. Immediate aspirations for club development are to explore potential basketball, cycling and canoeing clubs that could be established over the next year.

Special Olympics Great Britain was established in 1978 as part of Special Olympics Inc. Special Olympics GB is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. Through 135 clubs in England, Scotland and Wales, we provide training and competition programmes in 26 sports. We presently offer opportunities to more than 8,000 children and adults with learning disabilities in Great Britain and our aim is to reach out to a further 12,000 new athletes and 4,000 volunteers by the end of 2013. Special Olympics Great Britain offers year-round sport training and competition opportunities and is open to all people with learning disabilities regardless of their ability. Our programme is designed to allow athletes of all ages to learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sports. Events are modified where necessary to give athletes with severe disabilities opportunities for meaningful participation. Regular training with qualified coaches is essential for the development of sports skills. Special Olympics maintains that competition is the best means of testing those skills, measuring progress and providing incentives for personal growth.

At Special Olympics GB, our mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with learning disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of skills, gifts and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

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We aim to:

  • Provide quality sports training 48 weeks per year to encourage fitness, commitment and discipline through sport.

  • Provide as many Special Olympics athletes as possible, with the opportunity to participate, train and compete in a wide variety of sports and events.

  • Provide quality coaching.

  • Help athletes develop social skills and build friendships through the interaction and team spirit of their sports training and competition.

  • Provide athletes with the experience of new cultures when travelling abroad.

  • Encourage athletes to compete and participate for the fun of it, rather than focus on winning.

  • Promote the inclusion of people with a learning disability in mainstream sport.

The Special Olympics Movement was founded in the USA in 1968 by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F Kennedy. Shriver believed that the Olympic ideals of sport could give confidence and new hope to people with learning disabilities as well as to those who cared for them. Today Special Olympics reaches nearly 3.5 million athletes in more than 170 countries worldwide.

Special Olympics in the UK was one of the first European programmes of the international Special Olympics Movement. Today, Special Olympics GB serves 8,000 athletes and 2,800 volunteers in 135 clubs across Great Britain.