On Thursday 20th October, Fuller’s Pub's staff and a contingent of Special Olympics GB athletes from Special Olympics Essex along with Athlete Leader Matt Dodds gathered at the Surrey Sports Park’s pitches to compete in the annual 6-aside football tournament to raise money for Special Olympics GB. 

While the weather may have been a little damp to start with that did nothing to stop 16 teams of Fuller’s Pubs employees, Special Olympics GB athletes and national office staff members competing in a knockout style tournament which was then followed by a fund-raising auction at a local Fuller’s Pub – The Princess Royal. 

As in previous years, the competition was fierce with The Old Customs House coming out as winners. What set this year's event apart from earlier renditions of the tournament was that the focus was on Unified Sport. Nothing is more effective at breaking down barriers around intellectual disabilities then playing sport shoulder to shoulder with our amazing athletes. And with Special Olympics GB athletes playing in each team, it was a perfect example of inclusion in action. 

2022 Winners - The Old Customs House which included two Special Olympics GB athletes!

Simon Emeny, Chief Executive at Fuller’s said: “It was such a great day – and playing as unified teams, in a truly inclusive manner, added an extra dimension. Our partnership with Special Olympics GB goes deeper than just raising money. We want to build genuine opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities within our business – and the more inclusive activities we can undertake, the quicker we will achieve that goal.” 

Nigel Stuart, Chair of Special Olympics Essex, Head Coach of Special Olympics Essex and World Summer Games 2023 Unified Football Assistant Coach said: "I thought the event was fantastic. I felt the event this year was very inclusive and new friendships were made. All the people from Fuller's made all of us feel very welcome." 

Moving forward, the inclusive work we continue to do with Fuller’s Pub will focus on building and realising their ambition of becoming a truly inclusive employer. In 2023, we will be creating a blueprint and delivering a pathway of recruitment for people with intellectual disabilities, which will be embedded across the Fuller’s estate, nationwide! So, watch this space! 

Once again, a huge thanks to Fuller’s Pubs again for organising such a brilliant day. With the date for next year’s Unified Football event already locked in, we’re already looking forward to next year’s event!