Students from The Regis School have been selected to champion a global Special Olympics campaign.
A group from the Bognor Regis school attended a Youth Summit at Gilwell Park today to launch the campaign as part of a global movement to break down barriers for young people with intellectual learning disabilities.
The students, among 100 young people from London and the south, were joined by Olympic 100m finalist Jeanette Kwakye and Paralympic swimmer Kate Grey.
The Youth Summit is one of eight special events being held across the country to launch Play Unified, a new Special Olympics GB campaign delivered in partnership with national charity Youth Sport Trust.
The campaign, funded by DCMS and jointly administered by DCMS and Sport England, aims to use sport and leadership skills to change perceptions of and attitudes towards young people with intellectual disabilities.
Ultimately, Play Unified seeks to break down barriers that exist for people with intellectual disabilities – both on and off the pitch – creating a ‘unified generation’.
Karen Wallin, chief executive of Special Olympics GB, said: “Play Unified is a global Special Olympics campaign aimed at breaking down the barriers and misconceptions towards people with intellectual disabilities.
“People with intellectual disabilities say they want to be included as equals in society. The Unified Generation will lead our movement and will do so by simply playing unified.”
The Young Ambassadors, both with and without intellectual disabilities, who have been selected for their leadership qualities.
The summit educated, motivated and empowered the young people to create positive change, promote inclusion and provided opportunities for young people to take part in sport.
Ali Oliver, chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: “The Special Olympics GB Play Unified Summits delivered by the Youth Sport Trust provide a unique opportunity to inspire and empower young people with and without disabilities to become leaders in their schools, creating positive change and developing more opportunities for young people to take part in sport.
“Through these summits we will use the power of sport to provide a platform for young people to understand and value their peers with intellectual disabilities, build their confidence and give them the opportunity make new friends. Ultimately we want to create a unified generation.”
Play Unified is inspired by a simple principle, training together and playing together is a quick path to understanding, acceptance and friendship – a principle that will be central to the summit.
Play Unified will be rolled out in 200 schools nationwide over the next two years, involving more than 18,000 young people.
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