Community Engagement 


Athlete Leadership

The Athlete Leadership Programme provides a way for athletes to showcase their talents and interests, undergo training and learn new skills.   The Programme gives Special Olympics athletes the opportunity to take on new roles and responsibilities, on and off the sports field.


Families Programme

Families with members who have an intellectual (learning) disability are like other families; however, having a family member with special needs can sometimes introduce new and different challenges for families. Getting involved with Special Olympics gives families a chance to meet other families who have undergone similar challenges.

A large amount of people with intellectual disabilities live in care homes or do not have any relatives closer, so we welcome also the closest friends of our athletes to meet and forge relationship with families.


Healthy Athletes Programme

Despite an estimated 200 million people living with an intellectual (learning) disability worldwide, many have had little or no access to proper health care for the majority of their lives. Often the reason is as simple as no doctor near them knows how to treat a person with an intellectual (learning) disability.

As a sports organisation for people with intellectual (learning) disabilities, Special Olympics was in a unique position to help, and in 1997 opened a whole new world of health care to people with intellectual (learning) disabilities and their families.

The Healthy Athletes Programme® is dedicated to providing health services and education to Special Olympics athletes, and changing the way health systems interact with people with intellectual (learning) disabilities.


Young Athletes Programme

Young Athletes™ is an innovative sports play programme for children with intellectual (learning) disabilities designed to introduce them to the world of sports prior to Special Olympics eligibility at age six.

In 2007, Special Olympics created this programme to reach out to children with intellectual (learning) disabilities ages two to seven, and to welcome them and their families to the Special Olympics movement.


Youth Engagement 

Play Unified is a Special Olympics global campaign inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to understanding, acceptance and friendship, breaking down the barriers that exist for people with intellectual disabilities. The sports in focus for the Play Unified campaign will be basketball and football.

Play Unified is aimed at young people aged 14-25 and will be delivered in partnership with Special Olympics GB, by the Youth Sport Trust in 200 schools across the country over the next two years. The campaign is funded by DCMS, and will be jointly administered by DCMS and Sport England.