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 

National Boccia Day

Recently we celebrated National Boccia Day with a tournament at Whitton Sports Centre, it was a great day with groups from across Suffolk coming together to play.

There were over 30 competitors in the tournament and some fierce competition took place, we were thrilled to be visited by BBC Radio Suffolk to interview a few of the players too! Special thanks goes to the volunteers who reffed the games and marked out the courts. It was generally agreed a great time was enjoyed by everyone. Take a look below for a few photos from the day’s brilliant Boccia action.

To take a listen of the BBC Radio Suffolk interview then simply click this link here:

The first part of the interview can be heard from 40 minutes in and then listen in from 2 hours 7 minutes to hear interviews with the players and also discover how the reporter got on when she gave boccia a go.

We host a regular boccia session on Thursdays between 10:30am-12:30pm to find out more and get involved contact Mike on or call the office on 01473 345350.

Suffolk badminton fly the flag for the East

Special Olympics Suffolk badminton players proudly flew the flag for the Eastern Region , at the National Special Olympics Badminton Tournament held at the University of Wolverhampton Sports Campus in Walsall. The team of 12 players from Suffolk, did a brilliant job of representing our county and region, winning a total of 13 medals across the range of singles and doubles events. “The competition was often tough, and it certainly wasn’t all ‘plain sailing’ for our team, but they all stuck to their task brilliantly throughout the two days of play”, said coach, Mike McCarthy. “All of our players were a real credit to Special Olympics Suffolk and the Eastern Region”.  

The athletes were presented with their medals by Colin Dyer, the recently appointed CEO of Special Olympics GB. “I’m loving the energy and passion of the Suffolk/Eastern team”, said Colin.  

A big thank you to all of the Suffolk volunteer coaches and great supporters who made the weekend possible, and so enjoyable, and to ActivLives, who continue to support the delivery of the weekly training sessions in Ipswich.

Former Special Olympics Suffolk athlete Hetty Bartlett represents England in the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games

Former Special Olympics Suffolk athlete Hetty Bartlett will be sprinting for gold in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games. The 31-year-old represented Team England at Tokyo Paralympics, competing in the long jump, finishing sixth. Hetty has switched sports for the Games and will be competing in the Women’s T37/38 final on 2nd August between 6:30pm – 10:30pm.

Cerebral Palsy Sport completed an interview with Hetty to find out how her preparations have gone on. To read about the interview, please click here.

Athletics Summer Series of Sport!

Special Olympics Suffolk hosted a very successful Eastern Region Special Olympics GB Summer Series of Sport Athletics competition on Saturday 9th July at Bury St Edmunds. In addition to Special Olympics Suffolk, athletes travelled from London, St Albans, Essex and Norfolk to take part in what turned out to be an excellent day’s athletics, the first opportunity for most to compete after a two year gap due to the pandemic.

Running alongside a Suffolk Quadkids competition, this Special Olympics event was part of the Festival of Suffolk Community Games, one of Suffolk’s headline events to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. An added attraction was the visit by the Queen’s Baton Relay to the track on its way to the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

A big thank you to the qualified athletics officials and to the many supporting volunteers who made this a memorable occasion for our athletes. You can download the results of the competition below or check out our gallery to see more photos of the event!