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Special Olympics release response to the Disability Action Plan

Following the government’s new Disability Action Plan published on Monday, Special Olympics have released a response.

Laura Baxter MBE, Strategic Director of Growth & Legacy at Special Olympics Great Britain, said:

“We’re thrilled to see this first stage of the bid process for a Special Olympics World Summer Games move forwards with backing from the Government to be part of a vision that will generate systemic societal benefits for people with intellectual disabilities in Great Britain.

“As seen from our athletes who represented our nation at the Berlin 2023 Special Olympics World Games and those who have recently competed in our first National Winter Games, participation in Special Olympics training, activities and events can transform the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

In addition to the many physical health benefits, our sporting opportunities help to boost confidence, support meaningful social relationships, develop new skill sets and can lead to life-changing impacts such as employment and independent living.”

The Disability Action Plan

The Disability Action Plan sets out the immediate actions the government will take in 2024 to improve disabled people’s everyday lives and lays the foundations for longer-term change.

The Plan sets out actions the government will take forward with disabled people, their organisations, and other government departments and public service providers in several areas including:

  • Support disabled people who want to be elected to public office.
  • Include disabled people’s needs in emergency and resilience planning.
  • Include disabled people’s needs in climate-related policies.
  • Improve information and outcomes for families in which someone is disabled.
  • Make playgrounds more accessible.
  • Help businesses understand the needs of and deliver improvements for disabled people.
  • Explore if the UK could host the Special Olympics World Summer Games.
  • Support people who have guide and assistance dogs.
  • Help the government measure how effective its policies and services are for disabled people.
  • Research issues facing disabled people in the future.
  • Make government publications and communications more accessible.
  • Improve understanding of the cost of living for disabled people.
  • Promote better understanding of United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) across government.
  • Monitor and report progress of the Disability Action Plan.

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics Great Britain (GB), set up in 1978, is a non-profit charity which provides year-round sports coaching and athletic competition in summer and winter sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

It currently has 95 accredited programmes in England, Scotland and Wales and provides coaching and competition opportunities in 27 sports. These programmes are run by over 3,800 volunteers who support more than 6,600 athletes with intellectual disabilities to take part.

Special Olympics GB is more than just an opportunity to take part in sport – it transforms lives. It provides opportunities to increase confidence, realise potential, develop physical fitness and mental well-being, demonstrate courage and experience new friendships.

The work of Special Olympics GB is currently funded by individuals, trust and corporate donations and financial support is crucial to enable us to continue our work.

Plans for the future

“We believe that through a longer-term vision and legacy, which will be built over the next 10 years, staging a Special Olympics World Summer Games in Great Britain will give much greater prominence to the issues faced by people with intellectual disabilities, and it will help to break down the many barriers that they face daily; ultimately leading to a more accessible and inclusive society.” said Laura Baxter on the future of the Special Olympics.

“We will do everything that we can to support the drive for systemic societal change for people with Intellectual Disabilities. Our utmost priority will always be the athletes, volunteers and supporters in the Special Olympics Great Britain network, ensuring that our clubs and programmes can grow and deliver their many life-changing opportunities through sport.”

Click below to learn more about Special Olympics GB.