Special Olympics GB and Mencap Sport, the country’s two leading organisations promoting sport for people with a learning disability, announced the establishment of a formal alliance in November 2011.
The English Learning Disability Sports Alliance works across the sport sector, to promote inclusive provision of disability sport. The Alliance will focus on ensuring that people with a learning disability have the best possible opportunity and choice to participate in sport, both recreationally and competitively, and to raise awareness of learning disability sport.
Mencap Sport and Special Olympics GB will remain as two separate organisations, but will work more closely together to share skills, resources, and promote a strong, united voice for people with a learning disability in sport.
The lack of competitive opportunities following the exclusion of elite athletes with a learning disability from Paralympic sport between 2000 – 2009, has undermined provision at every level, and individuals with disabilities are currently less likely to participate regularly in sport than non-disabled people and are more likely to suffer from conditions relating to physical inactivity. The English Learning Disability Sports Alliance will now play a key role in ensuring that learning disability sport at every level receives the attention it deserves, and will aim to build on the excitement of the Olympics and increase the number of people with a learning disability taking part in sport.
According to Special Olympics GB’s chief executive Karen Wallin, “Our new working partnership with Mencap Sport will ensure we can fully exploit our synergies to create a wider pathway for people with learning disabilities transforming their lives through sport. There are 1.2 million people with learning disabilities in Great Britain and we are currently reaching just a fraction of them. Our alliance will help us reach more athletes of all ability levels and encourage them to be the best they can be.”