Hetty Bartlett goes for Paralympic glory

Hetty Bartlett

Fulfilling a dream she’s had since taking up athletics many years ago, Suffolk athlete Hetty Bartlett has been honoured with selection for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games which gets underway today. Making her debut for ParalympicsGB in the T38 Long Jump on 31st August will represent just reward for many hard years training for sprints and long jump. As a member of Orwell Panthers Athletics Club and Special Olympics Suffolk, she has won many national events over the years. In 2019 she won Gold in the 200m at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. Now a member of the ParalympicsGB athletics squad the door has opened for her to compete with the best in the world in the T38 classification. All at Orwell Panthers Athletics Club and Special Olympics Suffolk wish her every success at the Games and for her future in Paralympic competition

Suffolk inclusive boccia sessions

Special Olympics Suffolk partners, ActivLives, continue to deliver inclusive boccia sessions for players with a learning disability, in partnership with local provider Avenues East. The sessions, which are held in Stowmarket and Ipswich, are being supported by Active Suffolk and Sport England through the Tackling Inequalities Fund.

Sacha Feeney-Howells, Avenues East Project Coordinator, said, ‘The people that access our daytime activity groups love playing boccia, they work as a team encouraging each other, they are clearly improving their skills and take pride in their achievements. Boccia is a super sport for all abilities and great fun to play! We look forward to more sessions and more partnerships with ActivLives’.

For more information, contact Mike McCarthy, ActivSport Manager, 07531 236442

SOS athletes star for ITFC

On Saturday May 1st 2021 The Ipswich Town community trust Disability football team hosted their first competitive/friendly match against Maldon Saints. The team had 3 SOS athletes feature for them; Edward Martin, Cameron Sherman and his brother Nathan. Playing alongside were Scott Johnson and Josh Wightman. All getting plenty of minutes on the pitch and putting in lots of effort during a tough game against a really good opposition.

Everyone involved enjoyed the match and look forward to the return fixture at Maldon in June. 

The community trust was relaunched 2 years ago and the disability provision has grown so much in a short space of time. For anyone interested and who may want to take part the team train every Thursday evening from 5pm at Portman Road.

Interested? Contact Leanne Smith, Community Engagement Co-ordinator, at leanne.smith@itfc.co.uk to find out more!

‘Boccia is back’ with ActivLives

You know that things are gradually getting back to how they were before Covid-19, when the boccia balls come out once again!

ActivLives have recently re-started their regular boccia sessions, with Avenues East, in Ipswich and Stowmarket. The sessions have been adapted to meet all of the current Covid-19 requirements including ‘Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air’. 

The group sessions are tailored specifically for players who have an intellectual disability, which is why they are able to get back to play, in-line with the ‘grassroots sport for athletes with a disability’ exemption, as part of the current Covid-19 guidelines. 

“Avenues East Daytime clubs have been lucky enough to have Boccia and Kurling sessions, led by ActivLives, for quite a few years now. It really is a highlight of our month. The progression in everyone, as a result of these sessions, is phenomenal and the fun and camaraderie is priceless”,said Louise Powell, Avenues East Project Coordinator.

If you would like to know more about playing boccia with ActivLives, call Mike on 07531 236442 or email mike@activlives.org.uk

ActivLives Inclusive Badminton group

The ActivLives Inclusive Badminton group, based in Ipswich, is now back playing weekly as part of the gradual return to activity for their ActivSport programme. The session, which is targeted at adults who have a learning disability, is able to return indoors as part of the current Sport England and Badminton England Covid-19 guidelines for disability groups.

Almost all of our players have felt able to return to play, it is absolutely brilliant to see them back, said Mike McCarthy, ActivSport Project Manager. We have obviously had to make some changes to how we run the session as result of Covid-19, including operating smaller groups to help ensure that social distancing requirements can be complied with.

If you are interested in getting involved with this group, contact Mike on 07531 236442. Please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions, participation in these sessions must be pre-booked.

Boccia and Badminton continue in Ipswich with ActivLives

Well, what a year 2020 has been! Although for much of the year all Special Olympics training and competition has had to be put on hold as a result of Covid-19, some of our local affiliated clubs and groups have been able to continue to play in a Covid-19 compliant manner. 

Despite the many restrictions that have been placed upon participating in sport and physical activity in recent months, ‘disability sport’ has had an exemption from these at various times throughout the year.

Two sports that have managed to continue, in some shape or form, have been boccia and badminton. ActivLives, one of our key delivery partners in Ipswich, has continued to provide sessions specifically for participants with an intellectual disability. 

“During the summer months we were able to play boccia and badminton outdoors in local parks in Ipswich, which was a great way of us all getting back to group activity after the first lockdown ended in July”, said Mike McCarthy, from ActivLives. “During the autumn we were able to play both sports indoors, apart from during the second lockdown period in November. Obviously, we had to ensure that we were meeting all of the UK Government Covid-19 Guidelines, as well as those of Boccia England and Badminton England. The response of the players, and their families, over the last few months has been absolutely brilliant. Everyone has adapted to the restrictions and guidelines that we have had to put into place in order to return to play safely – the positive attitude to returning from players, families and volunteers, has been a real inspiration for all of us”.

Who knows what 2021 will bring. Whatever happens next, we do know that we have a lot of very committed athletes in Suffolk, who are ready and waiting to get back to play, just as soon as they can!

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