Final preparations for the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin

The Special Olympics World Games in Berlin are only a few weeks away and gymnasts Jack, Grace and Simon, and coaches Alex and Ellen from Waveney Gymnastics club in Lowestoft are making their final preparations to compete and coach alongside the very best of the world and at the highest level of international sport. At Special Olympics Suffolk, we couldn’t be more proud of them as they represent their clubs, the County and their Country. We wish them the very best of luck and can’t wait to hear how they enjoyed the experience on their return!

Special Olympics Great Britain will be sending a team of around 150 athletes, coaches and support staff to the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 which runs from June 17-23 and features more than 7,000 athletes from 190 countries. Jack, Grace and Simon make up over half of the British gymnastics squad which is a fantastic tribute to Waveney Gymnastics club who are recognized as one of the best in the country for supporting athletes with disabilities.

Also travelling to Berlin are Mike McCarthy, ActiveSport Development Officer and Head Coach of Special Olympic Suffolk’s Badminton and Boccia teams. Mike is experienced in organizing and running local and regional inclusive events in both sports and will be officiating at the badminton as a competition management volunteer. He is very much looking forward to “the opportunity to be involved with an event like the Special Olympics World Games. It looks and sounds like it will be a very special experience. This global event is the culmination of a -year cycle of weekly inclusive sports activity that is provided in clubs and groups all around the world, including what we offer right here in Suffolk”.

Edward Boggis and his Personal Assistant Lizzie Reid are looking forward to volunteering at the World Games in June. “It was a pretty stiff application process” explained Lizzie “but we got through it and are delighted to have been accepted as volunteers for the Badminton event. We have been asked to volunteer for five days of competition. Our duties will be meeting and greeting competitors and spectators and directing them to their events. We have both completed the necessary online training and are ready to go!”     The Special Olympics World Games prides itself as being fully and actively inclusive, so disabled people are encouraged to join the ranks of event volunteers. Ed has Down’s syndrome, is a member of Special Olympics Suffolk and will be supported by Lizzie and family members to make the trip and to volunteer. A keen badminton player himself, Ed is “excited about going to the games and helping out at the competition”.

We join together at Special Olympics Suffolk to wish our gymnasts, the coaches and the volunteers the very best of luck!

If you or someone you know are also making the trip to Berlin in connection with the Special Olympics World Games, please let us know!

Flying the county flag!

Suffolk badminton players flew the county flag at the Para-Badminton tournament held recently in Gillingham, Kent. Six players from Special Olympics Suffolk/ActivLives, competed in the singles and doubles events, producing some excellent performances throughout the day. The tournament, which was organised by Kent Badminton, included players from around the country with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities. Suffolk players managed to bring home a haul of medals, including five gold, three silver and three bronze.

Well done to all involved – you continue to do Suffolk proud!

Boccia Leaders

Special Olympics Suffolk delivery partner, ActivLives, hosted a Boccia England ‘Boccia Leaders’ Course recently in Ipswich, as part of their work to help promote inclusive sport in Suffolk. The course attracted 17 delegates from a wide variety of local organisations including Papworth Trust, Suffolk New College, Special Olympics Suffolk, Special Olympics Norfolk, Suffolk Sight, Ipswich Hospital and Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy.

The course is designed to enable delegates to feel more confident in the delivery of boccia sessions in the community, and included basic playing techniques, rules, refereeing and ways of adapting the game for different participants and groups.

“It was a busy afternoon, but really useful in increasing my boccia knowledge and helping me to develop my leadership skills”, said one of the course delegates.

If you would like to find out more about how to get involved with boccia in Suffolk, please contact or call on 01473 345350. 

Inclusive Badminton Tournament

Special Olympics Suffolk delivery partner, ActivLives, held a very successful Inclusive Badminton Tournament recently at Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich, with 30 athletes competing in the singles and doubles competitions.

The standard of play throughout the day was superb, with some extremely close matches deciding the final medal placings, across all of the divisions.

In addition to the 20 Suffolk-based athletes, there were 10 competitors from Inclusive groups in Wimbledon (Anders Disability Badminton) and Southampton. The event concluded with a very exciting Team Relay competition, involving all of the competitors.  

“We have had some lovely feedback from the players and families, as a result of this event. Everyone has commented upon the great team of volunteers who made the day happen. All of the people delivering this event have volunteered their time and expertise – they are absolutely brilliant”, said Mike McCarthy from ActivLives.

Allison Boggis, Chair of Special Olympics Suffolk, who helped to present medals to the winning athletes, reflected on the event, “I was incredibly impressed by the standard of competition, sportsmanship and enthusiasm demonstrated by all of the players throughout the day”.

ActivLives are very grateful to everyone who continues to support these events including Special Olympics Suffolk, Special Olympics GB and Ipswich Borough Council.

If you would like to find out more about inclusive badminton with ActivLives, call on 01473 345350 or email 

ActivLives Boccia Festival in Ipswich

Special Olympics Suffolk delivery partner, ActivLives, recently held a Boccia Festival at Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich. The event attracted 40 competitors from across Suffolk, competing for the medals in the team event. All of the players who took part, have an intellectual, physical and/or sensory disability, and most already play boccia with ActivLives, on a regular basis.

Boccia (pronounced ‘botcha’), is a target sport played with soft balls, propelled towards a jack. The game is played seated, and has been a Paralympic sport since 1984. It is also one of the many sports offered by Special Olympics groups and clubs, around the UK.  

Paralympian, Evie Edwards, a member of the GB Boccia team in Tokyo in 2021, who now coaches the sport, was one of the many brilliant volunteers who made this Suffolk event happen.

Mike McCarthy, ActivSport Development Officer at ActivLives, said “We are absolutely delighted by the number of players who have competed, and by the quality of boccia that was played across all of the groups. The buzz in the hall, throughout the day, has been brilliant”.

If you are interested in finding out more about boccia, or any of the other inclusive sports on offer with ActivLives, please call the office on 01473 345350, email  or visit our website at

Boccia Festival and Inclusive Badminton Tournament coming soon!

ActivLives (Partners of Special Olympics Suffolk), have two events coming up in Ipswich, both of which are targeted at participants with a disability. On Tuesday 7th March there is a Boccia Festival at Gainsborough Sports Centre, and on Saturday 1st April an Inclusive Badminton Tournament, which is also being held at Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich.

If you would like more information about either of these forthcoming events, please check the Calendar on this website or contact 07531 236442.

Be Part of Something Big!

Ticket sales have started for the largest inclusive sporting event in the world with the Special Olympics World Games taking place in Berlin, Germany from 17 to 25 June 2023.

The Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 will feature more than 7,000 Special Olympics athletes, from over 190 countries who will compete in 26 Olympic-type summer sports across nine days of exciting and inspiring competitions, by athletes and for athletes. Ticket sales for the event are now open with tickets available on the Berlin 2023 website. In addition to paid tickets for the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, daily and weekly tickets are available. The Closing Ceremony at the Brandenburg Gate is free of charge.

The Special Olympics World Games will feature a large variety of events with several open to the public free of charge. All competitions in the city of Berlin (3×3 basketball, cycling, beach volleyball) Bad Saarow (golf), Grünau (kayaking, open water swimming) and Wannsee (sailing) are all free of charge. The bowling competitions will take place without spectators. A “Day pass” and “All competitions pass” are available for the competitions in Olympiapark, Messe and SSE Schwimm- und Sprunsporthalle.

Day passes are available for 8 euros (reduced: 6 Euros). For those not wanting to miss any of the events and participate in the full Special Olympics World Games experience, an “All competitions pass” will be available for 32 Euros (reduced: 24 Euros). Discounts will be available for e.g., pensioners, students, those unemployed and other concession card holders. Family members who are not credentialed participants for Games are eligible for group discounts and will have the opportunity to purchase a full-day ticket for the price of 24 Euros.

Tickets are also expected to be well sought after for the Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony, which is set to take place at Berlin Olympic Stadium on Saturday, 17 June 2023. The evening’s program is set to be announced in 2023 and is expected to draw big crowds.

For all information on the available tickets head to the official website of the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023.

Find out more information about the World Games and the competitions.

Active Suffolk Awards 2022

Special Olympics Suffolk delivery partner, ActivLives, were well represented at the recent Active Suffolk Awards evening, held at Trinity Park in Ipswich. The event presents an annual opportunity to recognise and celebrate some of the county’s top sports heroes, physical activity advocates, community groups and schools.

Two long-standing volunteers, Don Golding and John Doy, were shortlisted for the ‘Unsung Hero’ Award and the ActivSport project was shortlisted in the ‘Innovative Project’ category. Don and John were being recognised for their continued work in helping to develop inclusive badminton opportunities in the Ipswich area, through the partnership between Special Olympics Suffolk and ActivLives.

Many congratulations to all of those who are involved with the inclusive sport work as part of the ActivSport project

(Photos were taken on the evening by Keith Mindham)

Inclusive Badminton Tournament – a thank you to the players and volunteers!

Special Olympics Suffolk partner, ActivLives, held an Inclusive Badminton Tournament recently at Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich, with 29 athletes competing in the singles and doubles events.

These tournaments are open to players who have an intellectual disability, most of the athletes taking part also compete in Special Olympics competitions around the country. 

The standard of play was excellent throughout the day, with some extremely close matches deciding the final medal placings, across all four divisions.

Players from Suffolk, were joined by visiting teams from Wimbledon and Southampton to compete for the medal placings. The event concluded with a very exciting ‘Team Relay’ match, involving all of the competitors.  

“These events are so much fun to be involved with, the volunteers enjoy them almost as much as the players! Huge thanks must go to our brilliant team of volunteers, without them, events like this simply wouldn’t take place”, said Mike McCarthy from ActivLives.

ActivLives are very grateful to everyone who continues to support these events including Special Olympics Suffolk and Ipswich Borough Council.

If you would like to find out more about inclusive badminton with ActivLives, call on 01473 345350 or email