Liverpool unable to host the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games in 2022

Liverpool City Council has announced today (29 July) it will be unable to host a rescheduled Special Olympics GB National Summer Games in 2022.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the decision to postpone the 2021 games was made in late May, but having explored all the options for the Games to take place in Liverpool in 2022, the city council has made the difficult decision that it is undeliverable.

The unknowns which surround the ongoing health pandemic and the complex and crowded event calendar in 2022 including Liverpool’s commitment to host the World Gymnastics Championships in the same year have played their part in reaching this difficult decision. Combined with this, the full extent of the serious financial impact the pandemic has had on the city council is yet to be realised.

Therefore the city council feels it has no choice and has informed the board for the Games that it will be unable to host the event in the city.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “I am both personally and professionally devastated that Liverpool will not be able to host the rearranged 2021 Special Olympics National Summer Games.

“Liverpool produced an ambitious and innovative bid for the 2021 Games that promised athletes would have the time of their lives and we were wholeheartedly committed to doing just that. None of us could have foreseen a global pandemic that has derailed the plans on such an unprecedented scale and whilst our values have not deviated, it is inevitable that plans have had to be reassessed.

“My team have worked extremely hard over the last two months following the postponement of the 2021 event to find a way in which Liverpool could host the event in 2022.

“They have reviewed a complex mix of venue and accommodation availability, budget and commercial sponsorship options, capacity and calendar availability both locally and in a congested international sporting calendar and we simply have been unable to find a suitable solution that would do the athletes justice.

“It is with a heavy heart that we will not be able to host this event. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of Special Olympics GB the very best and we would welcome the opportunity to work with them in the future, when the time is right. I would also like to express my thanks to the Liverpool 2021 Board for their commitment, support and understanding. “

Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chair of the 2021 National Summer Games Board said: “The decision to postpone the games originally planned for next August was taken back in May this year and has proven to be the right decision. Since then, the city council and other stakeholders have been working tirelessly to develop a viable plan to stage the games in 2022.page1image31194688

“Unfortunately, despite the city’s best efforts and its tremendous enthusiasm for the games and everything they stand for, it has now been determined that this is not going to be possible. While this is disappointing news, it has always been clear to everyone at Special Olympics GB that the city of Liverpool has been fully committed to hosting what is a tremendous sporting showcase, and we all hope that we can continue this good relationship in the future.”

Paul Richardson, Chair of Special Olympics GB Board of Trustees said: “As you can imagine everyone at Special Olympics GB is deeply disappointed and saddened that Liverpool City Council has made this decision – none more so than our athletes. Covid-19 has had, and continues to have, a huge impact both mentally and physically on our athletes, and this decision will be felt deeply.

“The work now begins on our next steps and what realistically can be achieved under these unprecedented and challenging times. On behalf of Special Olympics GB, we would like to thank everyone involved for their hard-work and dedication as part of this journey and we very much hope our paths will cross again in the future.”

For all Special Olympics GB press enquiries, please contact:
Alison Lavenant, PR & Communications Consultant, Special Olympics Great Britain Tel: +44 (0) 7841 004 183 Email: alison.lavenant@sogb.org.uk

For all Liverpool City Council press enquiries, please contact: Sarah Latcham, Communications Officer, Liverpool City Council Tel: +44 (0) 7793 660 570 Email: Sarah.Latcham@liverpool.gov.uk

Fantastic fundraising from Special Olympics Suffolk athletes, Chloe and Jack.

Over 3 days, in our 23m back garden, Chloe and Jack (along with mum) walked and ran 35km whilst completing several fun elements.  They had to complete a 10KM fun run, a 5km night walk with glow sticks, a 5km water walk – Chloe did this whilst Jack sprayed us with hoses and threw wet sponges at us! A 5KM paint run in which we were painted as we walked/ran in a variety of bright colours all over us.  A 5 km fit run which consisted of exercises and running through tyres – this also had a bit of audience participation as we had a facebook live feed and we completed the exercises that the viewers were asking us to do! Finally we did a 5km wobbly walk doing laps on our trampoline! 

The weather was very kind to us, and Chloe and Jack really enjoyed it.  Chloe enjoyed the water run most and Jack enjoyed the fit run.  It was really motivating to be able to have the encouragement of viewers on facebook – some members and coaches from their gym club were watching which was brilliant.  They were amazed to find out that they had raised over £1000 in total which was split between raising money for them, along with the Eastern Region Gymnastics team, to attend the Special Olympic National Games in Liverpool and also to fund activities for residents at a local Care Home Squirrel Lodge in Pakefield. 

The final figures for the weekend meant that each charity received £ 476.67.

Jucy J

2021 Special Olympics GB National Summer Games Postponed

It is with regret, we announce the 2021 Special Olympics GB National Summer Games, scheduled to take place in Liverpool next August 2021, are to be postponed.

The difficult decision was made by the 2021 National Summer Games Board after careful consideration of the ever-changing Covid-19 situation and in full consultation with a wide range of key stakeholders including the Special Olympics GB Board, staff, Athlete Leadership Team, home- country representatives and the local organising committee.

It was agreed by all, that given the heightened risk to the athletes with intellectual disabilities, who are some of the most vulnerable people in our society, the uncertainty surrounding the impact of Covid-19, postponement is the right decision to protect our athletes and the integrity of the Games. There have been additional fundraising challenges as Covid-19 has impacted the whole of society and in particular charity fundraising. The unknowns about the true impact of Covid-19 on the economy means that corporate and community fundraising will become even more challenging, especially for the Special Olympics GB network of clubs and volunteers.

We understand this is disappointing news for everyone involved, however the welfare of the athletes and volunteers continues to be our top priority and we must protect the health and well-being of all those involved in preparing for and hosting a major event.

Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chair of the 2021 National Summer Games Board said: “While this has been a difficult decision to make, we believe it is in the best interests of everyone connected with the Games that it is postponed from August 2021. We know this will be disappointing and appreciate that many people were looking forward to this sporting showcase taking place in our city next year. We will now work with organisers and stakeholders across the city to gain an understanding of any future potential dates we could stage this inspirational multi-sport tournament.”

Paul Richardson, Chairman of Special Olympics GB Board of Trustees said: “The National Summer Games are an absolute highlight for our athletes, volunteers, coaches, families and corporate partners. We are very sorry it has had to be postponed. However, to run a National Games in August 2021 would not be in the best interest of the health and well-being of our athletes – who are our priority. On behalf of Special Olympics GB, huge thanks to everyone involved for their efforts to date especially Liverpool City Council and the National Summer Games Board. The dedication, support and hard work they have already invested in hosting the biggest and best National Summer Games to date in GB are very much appreciated.”

Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Events, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “It’s another blow to Liverpool events calendar that Special Olympics GB has had to be postponed in 2021.

“I’d like to send my best wishes to those athletes who were planning to take part, and I hope we can give you a warm Liverpool welcome at some point in the future.”

Work is currently underway to review alternative options for the rescheduling of the event with a commitment from all parties to deliver a safe, meaningful and high quality Games for all Special Olympics GB athletes, volunteers and partners where possible.

Ends 

For all Special Olympics GB press enquiries, please contact: 

Alison Lavenant, PR & Communications Consultant, Special Olympics Great Britain  

Tel: +44 (0) 7841 004 183 Email: alison.lavenant@sogb.org.uk 

For all Liverpool City Council press enquiries, please contact:

Sarah Latcham, Communications Officer, Liverpool City Council

Tel: +44 (0) 7793 660 570 Email: Sarah.Latcham@liverpool.gov.uk

Postponement – Questions and Answers
Last updated 22 May 2020

Q. Are the 2021 National Summer Games cancelled?

A. The 2021 National Summer Games are postponed. We are doing our very best to find a suitable time for the Games to be held at a future date. Cancellation of any Special Olympics GB National Games will only be considered if delivery is not in the best interests of the safety & wellbeing of our athletes and volunteers or the complex logistics required to deliver a games of this size are not workable.

Q. Why have the 2021 National Summer Games been postponed?

A. The decision to postpone the 2021 National Summer Games was made after careful consideration of the ever-changing Covid-19 situation and in full consultation, with a wide range of key stakeholders including the Special Olympics GB Board, staff, athlete leadership team, home-country representatives and local organising committee. It was agreed by everyone, that given the heightened risk to our athletes and the uncertainty surrounding the impact of Covid-19, postponement is the right decision to protect our athletes, volunteers and the integrity of the Games.

We understand this is disappointing news for everyone involved, however the welfare of the athletes and volunteers continues to be our top priority and we must protect the health and well-being of all those involved in preparing for and hosting a major event.

Q. When will the National Summer Games now take place?

A. We cannot confirm that at the moment, what we can say is that we are doing our best to find alternative options for the rescheduling of the event with a commitment to deliver safe, meaningful and high-quality games for all Special Olympics GB athletes, volunteers and partners.

Q. Will the National Summer games still be held in Liverpool?

A. Rescheduling an event of this scale during these unprecedented times is not an easy thing to do. With so many other events due to take place in Liverpool, it is too early to say now. However, it is everyone’s hope that Liverpool will be able to host the National Summer Games.

Q. What does this mean in terms of timelines?

A. Once an announcement has been made in relation to the dates that the games will take place, we will be able to re-work the associated timelines for submitting any revised quotas, entries, any outstanding registrations and payments.

Q. Will our Quota places be affected?

A. Unfortunately, at this stage we are not in a position to be able to answer this definitively. With so many elements of the games needing to be reviewed, it will take some time before we are able to confirm this. The aim and commitment from the Local Organising Committee is to deliver the games as planned allowing for any adaptations required to ensure it is a safe, high-quality, meaningful event for all involved.

Q. Will the games still include the same sports?

A. It is too early to say at this stage, however, the aim and commitment from the Local Organising Committee is to deliver the games as planned allowing for any adaptations required to ensure it is a safe, high-quality, meaningful event for all involved.

Q. How will this impact qualifying competitions?

A. The extended lead in time for the National Summer Games presents an opportunity to work closely with Regions and Technical Delegates to ensure that competition opportunities are provided in order to suitably qualify athletes for the National Games. Once we are in a position to resume sport and activity, we will implement an updated sanctioning process to incorporate government and public health guidance ensuring the safety of athletes and volunteers as well as deliver a high-quality event experience.

Q. How will the postponement affect World Summer Games selection?

A. We are yet to receive the timescales for Berlin 2023, we are aware, however, that there will need to be some reworking of the current selection process for the World Summer Games team and the qualifying for athletes in light of a postponed National Summer Games. This will be worked through in due course.

Q. What if we come through the current situation quicker than we think? Could the Games be reinstated for the same dates?

A. Unfortunately not, we have taken this decision based on government advice and to ensure that the health and wellbeing of all our athletes and volunteers is paramount. The situation around easing of lockdown remains unclear and as such there would not now be sufficient time to reschedule the games or for the athletes to train sufficiently to reinstate the games in august 2021.

Q. What if the Games are rescheduled and there is a second Covid-19 outbreak. Will we be in the same position again?

A. We are all dealing with an unprecedented situation and none of us can be sure if there will be another Covid-19 outbreak in the future. If we are able to re schedule and another outbreak occurs then we will take government advice and only continue if it is safe for every athlete, volunteer, partner and supporter to attend.

Suffolk Boccia players on their way to the National Games in Liverpool!

Four Suffolk boccia players have been selected, as part of the Eastern Region team, to compete at the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games, which are to be held in Liverpool in August 2021.

Boccia, originally a Paralympic sport, is played whilst seated. As well as being part of the Paralympics, the sport is now also an integral feature of the Special Olympics competition programme.

Special Olympics sport is targeted at participants who have an intellectual (learning) disability. The SOGB National Summer Games is a multi-sport event held every four years. There will be over 2,000 athletes competing at the Games and all will benefit from the support of the 800 volunteers who will help to make it all happen.

Our local players will help to make up a 16-strong team from the Eastern Region, all of whom will compete in the Singles and Team Boccia events in Liverpool.

All of the selected athletes play regularly as part of the ‘Inclusive Boccia’ sessions held in Ipswich as part of the ActivLives Everyday Activ programme.

We look forward to the time when it is safe enough for all of our Special Olympics athletes to get back to preparing for the Games.

Balls on target

Suffolk Special Olympics badminton players mix it in London SW19!

Suffolk team in SW19 badminton

The Special Olympics Suffolk Badminton squad had a great day recently at the Special Olympics Regional Tournament which was held in Wimbledon.

Just up the road from the All England Tennis Club, this singles badminton tournament was held for the very first time in the famous SW19 area of South London.

Special Olympics Suffolk had nine players competing for the medals across the various divisions. They were joined by competitors from a variety of Special Olympics groups including Wimbledon, Southampton, Exeter and the Isle of Wight.

“This tournament is a very welcome addition to the Special Olympics calendar”, said Mike McCarthy, from Special Olympics Suffolk and ActivLives, and Coach to the Suffolk group. “It has been brilliant for our players to play at such a prestigious venue, against opponents, many of whom, they hadn’t competed against before”.

The Suffolk team did the county proud by winning a number of medals including two Golds won by Donna Wyatt and Harry Creasey, who both topped their respective divisions.

The team completed a great day by taking part in the Team Relay event, a competition that puts all of the competitors into mixed teams across all of the abilities and groups represented on the day.

If you would like to get involved with Special Olympics Badminton in Suffolk (the group is based in Ipswich), please contact Mike McCarthy at mike@activlives.org.uk or call on 01473 345350.

 

Special Olympics GB Puts All Activities On Hold For Foreseeable Future

Following discussions between Paul Richardson, Chairman of Special Olympics GB Board of Trustees and Michelle Carney, CEO of Special Olympics GB, given the quickly changing environment and government response to Covid-19, it has been decided that NO Special Olympics activity is to take place in any club until further notice as a precautionary measure.

This is in line with the directives received from Mary Davis, CEO, Special Olympics International.

This applies to all club activity, competitions, events, training sessions, group activities or gatherings set to be hosted or attended by your regions and clubs.   This also applies to any Regional meetings and AGMs which are due to take place. We ask that moving forward, if a meeting is deemed to be urgent, this must take place via telephone or video conferencing and Sam Wothers from National Office is on hand to help coordinate as we have the facilities to make this happen.

Please note, this directive supersedes all previous emails.  

We understand this is a worrying time for everyone with the situation changing daily but as the number of cases across GB continues to increase, so too does the risk of contracting Covid-19.  Given the vulnerability of our athletes, we must take all necessary precautions to ensure we do not expose them and our volunteers to additional risk.

We must also ensure the same applies to our personnel, so it has been decided that all staff in National Office work from home until further notice.   All staff will continue to be contactable via email and mobile and are available if you have any questions or need further information.   Contact details of everyone can be found on our website if need be:   https://www.specialolympicsgb.org.uk/who-we-are/staff

 We know this will be disappointing news for many – especially our amazing athletes.   However, we are sure you can appreciate that, as an organisation, the health and welfare of our athletes is our number one priority and we must do everything we possibly can to minimise the impact on them and our volunteers of contracting the virus.

 Should you become aware of an athlete or volunteer testing positive for CoVid-19 please contact myself by email using the details below as soon as possible.     

We will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and will be in touch as developments unfold.

In the meantime, if you need anything further, please let us know.   We sincerely hope that you, your family, friends and colleagues are safe and healthy and continue to be so.

Many thanks for your understanding.

All the best 

Paul Lockyer, Chief Operating Officer 

Special Olympics GB 

paul.lockyer@sogb.org.uk 

M: 07611 646508 

SOS Go to Scotland

 

Suffolk Special Olympics athletes prepare to represent our region at
Anniversary Games in Scotland.
Four Ipswich badminton players will be amongst a select group of athletes who
will be competing at the forthcoming Special Olympics Anniversary Games. The
badminton players, together with three local athletes, will make up the Suffolk
contingent of ‘Team East’ at the Games which will be held in Stirling, Scotland
between 9 -13th August. The Games will consist of 3 full days of competition,
with 17 regions and nations from across the UK competing along with 5 visiting
teams from Europe.
The ‘Special Olympics’ are sport for athletes with an intellectual (learning)
disability, these Anniversary Games are a multi-sport event that is being held
to mark 50 years of Special Olympics worldwide and 40 years here in the UK.
The Anniversary Games will involve 1,400 athletes competing in 9 sports with
the support of over 500 volunteers all being cheered on by over 5,000 family
and friends throughout the 3 day event.
“We are really looking forward to supporting all of the Suffolk athletes and
badminton players at the Special Olympics Anniversary Games in Stirling”, said
Marilyn Andrews, one of the parents involved. “What an amazing opportunity
for all of our athletes to represent their county and region at such a prestigious
event! We hope that they enjoy every minute of it as they have all been
training so hard over the past few months. All of the families are so proud of all
of our Suffolk Special Olympians”.
The badminton team have been using Gainsborough Sports Centre for their
final preparations, with the support of Ipswich Borough Council.
“Ipswich Borough Council has continued supporting the badminton players
representing Special Olympics Suffolk as they train towards the Anniversary
Games in Stirling. It has been great to see the players working together as their
preparations build towards their big event in Scotland. All at Ipswich Borough
Council wish the badminton players and athletes the very best of luck and hope they all have a fantastic event,”

If you would like to find out more about Special Olympics Suffolk, please
contact Terry McEntee on 07775557784, visit the website at
wwwspecialolympicssuffolk.org or email terrymcentee474@gmail.com

Help Adam get to the 2019 SOGB World Games

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/team-gb-adam

About Adam:

Hi! I’m Adam and I have been selected to represent team GB in the 2019 Special Olympic games in Abu Dhabi! To be representing my country in track and field is a dream come true and something I have been working towards for the past 10 years. (That’s a lot of training sessions, a lot of pain and a lot of ice baths!)

Adam was born with a rare genetic disorder called Williams Syndrome. The condition is characterized by mild to moderate learning disability, and heart and blood vessel problems. Adam has a narrowing of the aortic valve in his heart which made everyday life challenging growing up. When Adam was younger, he was told by doctors he would not be likely to live an active life because of the severity of his heart condition, yet here we are! At age 14, he was encouraged by his teachers at The Ashley School in Lowestoft, Suffolk, to pursue athletics and it wasn’t long before he was competing across the country, as well as overseas for team England and team GB, as well as representing The Eastern region regularly.

Athletics is now a major part of Adams life and he trains extensively everyday for his sport. Adam has overcome multiple challenges to get to this point, and he will soon be flying 8 hours (and flying on a plane for the very first time!) with the union jack worn proudly on his chest.

About the Special Olympics world summer games:

Similar to the Olympics, this is the pinnacle for athletes with an intellectual (learning) disability to compete and achieve on the world stage. Unlike the olympics however, any qualifying athletes are required to fund the trip through their own means. Adam will be competing in the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay. He has competed in numerous Special Olympics and able bodied competitions across the east region and midlands over the past few years. His qualification for SOGB selection was achieved through medal winning performances while representing the Eastern Region at the 2017 SOGB National Summer Games in Sheffield. At the Games he won gold in the 100m and bronze in both the 200m and long jump. He was also a member of the x 100m relay team which won bronze.

Why we need donations

Firstly, any amount given will help me reach my goal, and any support will be greatly appreciated! A little really can go a long way. Donations will go towards kit, accomodation, and travel expenses including physically getting to Adu Dhabi and squad training days held across the UK in the lead up to the games.

Suffolk Smashed it!

 

Special Olympics Badminton Tournament in Suffolk, a great
success!
The second Special Olympics Eastern Region Badminton Tournament
was held recently in Ipswich and has been hailed as a great success by
players and coaches alike. The tournament, which was organised by
Special Olympics Suffolk with the support of ActivLives and the Suffolk
County Council ‘Most Active County’ initiative, involved 25 players from
as far afield as Bournemouth, Southampton, Lincoln and Exeter as well
as our own local Suffolk players.

The standard of play was excellent throughout the day with some very
tight matches deciding the final medal placings.
“Special Olympics, which is sport for athletes with an intellectual
disability, is relatively new to Suffolk with the local branch having only
been established as recently as 2014. Special Olympics Suffolk currently
focusses upon badminton, athletics and gymnastics.
“This tournament provided a great opportunity for our local badminton
players to compete with and against Special Olympians from other
clubs across the country, said Mike McCarthy from ActivLives and
Special Olympics Suffolk.

“We have had such positive feedback from the players, coaches and
volunteers at the event. The volunteers that supported this event have
been absolutely brilliant, huge thanks must go to them as events like
these simply wouldn’t take place if it wasn’t for the volunteers who
organise and deliver them”, added Mike.
The tournament served as one of the last opportunities for selected
players to prepare for the Special Olympics GB National Anniversary
Games, which are being held in Stirling, Scotland this August. “Four of
our Suffolk players will be taking their places in the Eastern Region
team for Stirling, we wish them well”, said Terry McEntee, Chairman
of Special Olympics Suffolk.

If you would like to find out more about Special Olympics Suffolk,
please contact Terry McEntee on 07775557784 or email
terrymcentee474@gmail.com or visit the website at
http://www.specialolympicssuffolk.org