One of the key messages that we try to put across in the Active Communities team is that participation in activity is a vital part of a person’s health and well-being. This is simply not just the physical aspect of sport; but the mental and social side too. How many times have we come back from thirty minutes of exercise and, although tired and maybe a little achy, we have felt good about ourselves? Now imagine if there were barriers that made it hard for you to get out and take part in an activity; this is a common problem for people with learning disabilities.
According to statistics from Mencap, there are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK and almost 200,000 children of school age too. Having an active lifestyle helps in therapeutic refreshment of your mind and body. The main benefits include:
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Personal social skills
- Self-worth and confidence
- Social attitudes
The journey to Stirling doesn’t begin on the start line at the track, it begins with the patient, hard work of family, friends and carers who actively encourage people with learning difficulties to take part in a range of sport and activity programmes that are available. This is where we come in with our ActiveAbility and Special Olympics Solent programmes that have been designed to be inclusive, exciting and rewarding to all participants.
BEING PART OF THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS MOVEMENT
“For our athletes, excellence is personal achievement, a reflection of reaching one’s maximum potential – it is a goal to which everyone can aspire”
Special Olympics GB is the largest provider of year-round, all ability, sports programme in Great Britain and supports over 10,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities on a continued basis. This extensive programme is led by over 4,000 dedicated volunteers in a variety of sports coaching, administrative, event, logistic, fundraising and supporting roles.
In the Active Communities Team we are honoured to be part of the Special Olympics programme and strive to make sure that we give the best possible options to our athletes. This year we have worked hard to support four athletes from our programme to give them the amazing opportunity to compete in this year’s Special Olympics GB 40th Anniversary Games in Scotland.
MEET OUR ATHLETES
For the Anniversary Games we are sending up an intrepid team of four athletes and two coaches from our superb Way Ahead Athletics session. Meet the team:
Athletes: Philip (48) | William (22) | Catherine (48) | Sophie (39)
Coaches: Andy Tavender | Kelly Morris
FUNDING FOR STIRLING
As you can expect, it is not simply a case of choosing athletes to compete and then sending them up to the Anniversary Games! Money has to be raised for this opportunity to happen. This is where the hard work of the Active Communities team comes into play. At the end of 2017 we started planning for a charity fundraising event that pushed us to the limit; the 24hr SPINATHON!
We raised over £3,700 from the Spinathon. This was down to the efforts of our team and every single person that got involved. On the day (and night) there were 18 teams that sweated on those uncomfortable seats with the shared goal of raising money for our athletes.
We are following the athletes as they train and prepare for the Anniversary Games. We will also be sending one of our crew up with the athletes to document what will be a historic event for our amazing Special Olympics Solent team!