Down Special Olympics Club in appeal for more volunteers

Down Special Olympics Club in appeal for more volunteers

13 March 2019

THE successful Down Special Olympics Club is looking for new volunteers to help meet unprecedented demand.

The appeal for volunteers comes after 21 Ulster athletes flew from Dublin last Friday to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi to pursue their sporting dreams.

Athletes who make up the team come from and train in local communities where the Special Olympics programme is at its strongest and continues at pace.

Down Special Olympics Club — whose athletes have enjoyed tremendous success over the years —  continues to grow due to significantly increasing demand and,  as a result, requires additional volunteers across its sports programme to ensure the next generation of athletes can fulfil their potential.

Based in Downpatrick, the multi-sports club has been providing year-round training and competition to athletes with an intellectual disability in for over 10 years. 

At present, the club has 57 athletes participating in bocce, golf, football and table tennis on a weekly basis, with all the participants throughly enjoying themselves.

To ensure its continued success, the club is holding a volunteer recruitment evening on Thursday, March 28, at the Ballymote Centre between 7.30pm to 8.30pm to provide more information on the volunteer roles available within the club.

Those who have some free time, knowledge, skills or experience that they could share with the local athletes for one or two hours each week, are being encouraged to attend the recruitment evening.

World Games and Downpatrick club volunteer Jim Fox said he was inspired to join his local Special Olympics club after the Ireland Games in Belfast in 2006. 

“I have now been with the club for 12 years and am enjoying every minute of it,” he continued.

“Our athletes learn so much from new volunteers coming into the club. The knowledge and experience that they share with our athletes pushes them on to achieve their sporting dreams.”

Down Special Olympics is part of Special Olympics Ulster, a sports organisation for people with an intellectual disability that gives athletes the chance to train in a chosen sport and improve their quality of life. 

The athletes’ families involved with the organisation build an invaluable network of friendship and support while athletes are given a platform to demonstrate courage, experience joy and share long lasting friendships.