Call for Sheffield businesses to back Special Olympics National Games

A banner promoting the games is unveiled opposite Sheffield railway station.
A banner promoting the games is unveiled opposite Sheffield railway station.
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Sheffield businesses have been urged to help make this summer's Special Olympics National Games a success.

The games take place in August, with 20 sports being played across 12 city venues.

The event is the UK's largest multi-sport competition for athletes with learning disabilities, and takes considerable planning and funding to pull off.

It is underwritten by payments from the various disability sport clubs across the country. But the organisers want to try to shift as much of the pressure as possible away from the clubs, which already struggle for funding.

Special Olympics GB CEO Karen Wallin this week urged city businesses to lend a hand and offer financial support for what will be 'a real community event'.

She said: "What we want to try to do is raise enough money so that our clubs aren't burdened.

"We've got a fundraising target of around £300,000 still to raise."

Sheffield has already pledged plenty of support to the games. More than 400 volunteers have signed up to help in various roles, and key city institutions such as the council and Sheffield United FC are involved. The opening ceremony will take place at Bramall Lane on August 8.

"But this is really a call-out to the business community to see whether we might be able to get more firms or individuals involved and supporting the event," said Karen.

"We've got sponsorship packages, but for smaller businesses who want to get involved we do have other levels that we can offer."

Sheffield-based basketball player Luke Wan and athlete Bethan Morgan will compete in the 2017 Special Olympics GB National Games, which will take place in Sheffield in August.

Sheffield-based basketball player Luke Wan and athlete Bethan Morgan will compete in the 2017 Special Olympics GB National Games, which will take place in Sheffield in August.

Those that do get involved will get more out of it than simply their company name on a billboard.

"All of our clubs are voluntary. A lot of the athletes and the families are paying to fund them," said Karen.

"The clubs and athletes and families have enough to be worrying about in their daily lives without having to worry about funding. Everyone is getting squeezed at every point."

To get involved visit www.sheffield2017.org.uk or e-mail bonnie.clayton@sogb.org.uk.