Special Olympics Great Britain today announces a change in leadership, with Laura Baxter MBE named as the organisation’s new Chief Executive, succeeding Colin Dyer.

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The Board of Trustees are delighted to be able to make this transition with Laura taking up her new role from April 2nd, 2024. Chair Paul Richardson explained: “We are so pleased, as a Board, that we have been able to continue the evolution of our Senior Leadership Team in such a positive way, and we have been working with Colin and Laura on this for the past couple of months.

“Laura has worked extremely closely with Colin during his time at the organisation, and has played an essential part in the work to create a strategy and structure that allows Special Olympics GB to broaden its reach across the country, creating opportunities for as many people with intellectual disabilities as possible.

“Everyone associated with Special Olympics GB would like to thank Colin for his hard work in leading our team during this period, which has included both a Special Olympics World Summer Games and a National Winter Games. His time at the organisation has created positive change at all levels and he moves on to his next challenge with our gratitude.

“Given her knowledge of the Special Olympics movement around the world, and her wider experience in sport development, Laura is the ideal person to succeed Colin and take the charity through its next phase of development. There continue to be very exciting times ahead for Special Olympics GB.”

Colin added: “It has been a privilege to lead this impactful and life-changing organisation, and to work with our athletes, volunteers, and, of course, creative and dedicated staff team. I will miss the time spent with our athletes greatly, and will be doing everything I can to continue to spread the word of this transformational movement far and wide. The organisation is in great hands, and I have no doubt that Laura will continue to grow the reach of Special Olympics GB across the country.”

Laura has an extensive 20 plus-year international sport development career where she has successfully advocated, influenced, and engaged with a wide range of external stakeholders, including national government and regulators, national and international bodies, federations of sport and local communities, members, commercial organisations and other agencies.

Laura joined the Special Olympics GB Leadership team in a full-time capacity in 2019 and has played a part in significant transformation while ensuring that athletes and volunteers are at the heart of all decisions made.

Having started her journey with Special Olympics GB as a volunteer coach in 2007, Laura previously held multiple voluntary positions for the organisation, including Head of Sport and Competition for the 2018 Special Olympics GB Anniversary Games in Stirling and Head of Delegation for the 180 strong, Team Special Olympics GB at the 2019 World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi. She was awarded an MBE for Services to Special Olympics in 2022.

New Chief Executive Laura Baxter said: “I would like to firstly thank Colin for his hard work and commitment to the organisation, and the leadership that he has shown.  I am excited about the power that sport has to change lives in many ways and this organisation has the opportunity to play a part in driving systemic societal change for people with intellectual disabilities through those means.  I am honoured to take up the role of Chief Executive and look forward to continuing the work set out in our strategic plan alongside our athletes, volunteers, families, partners, board and staff team to create more inclusive opportunities.”