Special Olympics GB receives boost with Lions Clubs International support

7th September 2017

Special Olympics has received an additional boost on the back of 2,600 learning disability athletes taking part at its most successful National Games in Sheffield last month, with Lions Clubs International renewing their Memorandum of Support.

For over 25 years, Lions Clubs International (MD105), which serves the British Isles, has proudly supported Special Olympics GB by giving donations, fundraising for athletes selected for international competitions and providing volunteers to help run key events.  In that time, over £600,000 has been raised for the charity, in addition to the countless human hours of support in volunteering at Special Olympics events.

The two organisations have agreed to renew a memorandum which will focus the partnership work for the next three years on the following key areas:


  • Volunteer workforce development
  • Supporting Special Olympics clubs at local level
  • Fundraising to establish a development fund for local clubs to apply for grants to support Special Olympics GB regionally and National Games.


Lions Clubs International is the largest voluntary service club organisation in the world, founded by Melvin Jones in 1917.

Lions has over 46,000 local clubs and more than 1.4 million members in over 210 countries and geographical areas around the World. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, United States, the organisation's Motto  is "We Serve" and its ethos is to help meet the needs of local and International communities wherever possible globally.

Karen Wallin, CEO of Special Olympics GB, commented: "To receive this support from Lions Clubs International, which builds on their generous backing over many years, is very significant for us as an organisation and also for our 10,000 Special Olympics athletes across England, Scotland and Wales.”

Phil Nathan for Lions Clubs of the British Isles said: "Lions Clubs International was privileged to have been the primary organisation to work in partnership with Special Olympics to enable the 'Opening Eyes Programme' at the turn of the Century, which is still being provided today. Our Lions clubs proudly support Special Olympics in many communities of the UK and worldwide and look forward to supporting a strong and relevant relationship."

Nathan added: "Also, as a Board member of Special Olympics GB, I am delighted that this relationship between our organisations, goes from strength to strength."




In the picture:

Picture One:

Special Olympics GB table tennis action from the recent National Games in Sheffield – more sporting images available

Picture Two of Lions signing up with #SOGB – left to right:


Murton Mann Chairman Special Olympics GB

Phil Nathan MBE,  Lion & Special Olympics GB Board Member

Lawrie McMenemy MBE, President Special Olympics GB

Balvinder Singh Sokhi MBE, Council Chairman Lion



Notes to editor:

Special Olympics GB is a charity and the largest provider of a year-round sports programme in Great Britain supporting over 10,000 people of all abilities with intellectual (learning) disabilities. 

Across, England, Scotland and Wales, approximately 27,000 regular sports coaching sessions of at least one hour are delivered locally each year by 140 accredited programmes across 28 different sports.

This coaching activity leads to an annual average of 100 all ability, inclusive sports competitions. Its competition pathways make Special Olympics Great Britain unique within the disability sports sector as it provides for athletes of all abilities, opportunities to compete and progress at local, regional, national and international levels.   This extensive programme is led by over 4,000 dedicated volunteers in a variety of sports coaching, administrative, event, logistic, fundraising and supporting roles. For Special Olympics GB athletes, excellence is personal achievement, a reflection of reaching one’s maximum potential – a goal to which everyone can aspire.  For those Special Olympics athletes who attain an elite level in their sport, we support a pathway into Paralympics and other elite competitions.

Special Olympics GB is part of a global movement that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition to nearly 5 million children and adults with intellectual (learning) disabilities in more than 170 countries.  Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of the late President John F Kennedy, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities opportunities to realise their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and build friendships.  Special Olympics is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a member of the Olympic family.

It is the only sports organisation authorised by the IOC to use the word ‘Olympics’ in its title. Special Olympics Great Britain is a registered charity and was founded in 1978. It is generously supported annually by Founding Partner Coca-Cola Great Britain and Official Partners and Supporters: National Grid, Coca Cola European Partners, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, The Geoff & Fiona Squire Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Masonic Charitable Foundation, Lions Clubs International (MD105), ‎Metlife Foundation, One4All Foundation and Sport England.

There are an estimated 1.5 million people (2% population) with an intellectual (learning) disability in Great Britain. The year-round sport provided by Special Olympics is important to people with learning disabilities because adults and children with intellectual disabilities tend to have poorer health and the many emotional and physical problems associated with inactivity.



Chris Hull
Communications & PR Advisor
Tel: 07713193927


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