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    CCEP reinforces commitment to Special Olympics GB Unified Sports competition

    The most inclusive of sporting afternoons was recently enjoyed by staff from Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), who joined athletes from Special Olympics Great Britain, its long-standing charity partner, for a “Unified” sports competition.

    Unified sports are unique to the Special Olympics global movement and bring together people with and without intellectual disabilities to compete alongside each other in the same team.

    The event took place at Hillingdon Sports & Leisure Complex, north-west London, and saw more than 50 staff from CCEP’s Planning & Commercialisation team join athletes with intellectual disabilities from Special Olympics St Albans and Essex clubs to play football and boccia. Athlete and golf coach Warren Clarke also gave staff and fellow athletes an inclusive, indoor golfing experience.

    “We staged our first unified sports afternoon with Special Olympics GB last year and wanted to repeat it in 2024,” said Holly Firmin, Senior Community Partnerships Manager (GB) at CCEP.

    “CCEP colleagues gained so much from the experience of playing alongside the athletes and learning more about the challenges they face, and how participating in sport makes such a difference in their lives.

    “We want to do more to support the athletes and have committed to staging at least two further events this year, which will ensure that many more CCEP colleagues benefit from the Special Olympics GB unified sport experience.”

    In addition to its support for unified sports through the events taking place later in the year, CCEP is committed to developing the entrepreneurial skills of Special Olympics GB athletes through its unified business programmes.

    Seventeen athletes have worked as part of the three CCEP unified business projects delivered to date. These projects have included the design and creation of a Christmas gift box, lanyards, drinks bottles and snoods for athletes competing, respectively at the Berlin 2023 Special Olympics World Games and the Folgaria 2024 Special Olympics GB National Winter Games.

    “Not only are staff at CCEP committed to supporting Special Olympics GB, they want to drive change,” said Laura Baxter MBE, Chief Executive of Special Olympics GB.

    “They want to learn more about the challenges that people with intellectual disabilities face every day, but also help them on their journeys to develop new skills and confidence which allows them to live a more independent life.

    “We’re incredibly grateful to Holly and the team for being the first partners to drive the unified sports and unified business opportunities, and we’re very excited as to how it can develop further.”

    Special Olympics GB is the UK’s largest provider of all-ability sports training and competition for children and adults with an intellectual disability. Across its 98 accredited clubs, regular opportunities to participate are provided for more than 6,600 athletes, which are delivered by a devoted team of 3,800 volunteers.

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