special olympics in sunderland
About the Special Olympics in Sunderland
Supporters and volunteers
Sports we do
Achievements and results
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Supporters and volunteers of Sunderland Special Olympics


We would like to welcome our three new coaches.

Stacy has been with us for a while now and is doing a sterling job with our new swimmers. (These are youngsters that have recently learned to swim but need extra lessons before going
into the main swimming squad).

Stacy has worked with youngsters learning to swim in various pools in Sunderland and is developing her skills with our children with learning disabilities, she has also taken over the duties of entering our swimmers into galas which is a lot of head scratching work, but I’m pleased to say she is excelling at it.

Stephen joined us in September and has been known by us for several years as an excellent competitive swimmer himself. He coached and swam for his previous club since “retiring” from competition he has continued to coach and teach in schools.

He is working in a school for children with learning disabilities so is well able to work with our older swimmers as well as teaching one to one lessons. He is proving to be and invaluable asset to the club.

Shelly came to us as a parent and was instantly inspired to join the team and volunteered to work with us. She began by doing her level one certificate in coaching. She is at present helping with our one to one learners.
As the mother of a son with learning disabilities she has excellent ability in understanding their difficulties and bags of patience!

A little different to her previous job working off shore.


Rachel Graduating


Congratulations go to Rachel Casey who has worked as a swimming coach with us for the past three years.

Rachel recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science with Honours and is now working as a learning disability nurse.

We would like to thank Rachel for the time she spent with us and wish her the very best of luck in her chosen profession.


Congratulations to 3 of our coaches...

Alex, Tom and Graham





Alex,Tom and Graham on their graduation from Sunderland University.

At a star studded ceremony at the Stadium of Light they were presented with their degrees by the Chancellor Steve Cram.


Don't they look smart?

They will be back to Raich Carter on Saturday ready to work the athletes hard.

We had an extra surprise at the Special Olympics Northumberland swimming gala 2011.

Gaye Barber from Special Olympics GB came to visit.

Gaye with Volunteers







Gaye is the National Volunteer Manager for SOGB.

It was very nice to meet Gaye especially as it was her first visit to the northeast and to meet her on our” home turf” was an extra bonus for us.

Gaye was delighted to see how we work and noted all the volunteers we have working for our athletes, and despite the hectic day they still managed to smile!

I am sure she went away with a very good impression of Special Olympics working in the North East.


Good News This week May 2011

Elliot with his wife Kerry who coached our swimming team for our first year, then left us to give more time to the sport they both love has given us some great news, all his hard work has paid off for Elliot.

This weekend Elliot qualified for the Triathlon Ironman World Championships which will be held in Hawaii in October 2011.

To qualify Elliot completed the Lanzarote Ironman race last week in record time, he finished 9th British man home from a field of 1,500 athletes, these athletes came from all over the world.

These races are made up of three sports all in the same race; a 2.3 mile swim, 112bike race, and then a full marathon run (26 mile).

Elliot completed this in a record time of 10 hrs and 11 minutes.

Good look Elliot


What an achievement to go to Hawaii and represent Great Britain.

We would all like to wish Elliot the very best of luck in Hawaii in the World Championships.

Fund Raiser

We are very lucky in Sunderland to have a very efficient and effective fund raiser, Maureen Morris.

Maureen has been very successful in gaining us some very useful amounts of funding.


Pudsey Bear


We received a very generous grant from Children In Need this year.

Although it is very tightly ring fenced in what it can be used for (as most grants are) we have been able to open up new avenues within swimming for people with learning disabilities.

Please read more.........

Raich Carter Centre Swimming PoolRaich Carter Sports Centre - We went to Raich Carter sport centre in early 2009 and met with Geoff Moffat who greeted us with “sit down what can we do for you”? 

And for the past 18 months we have had when training private use of the swimming pool and sports hall. We also have lanes to use at quiet times to provide our swimmers with extra coaching when needed.

We pay the going rate, after all they have a business to run, but we can go in and know our athletes are safe, comfortable, in a wonderful atmosphere.  Parents can relax and chat while the athletes train and not worry that they are in any danger.

The staff are friendly and helpful they understand our athletes, they are interested in learning more about them and their disabilities and enjoy interacting with them in sport. That to us is worth a pension!  Thank You.

Northumbria Police LogoNorthumbria Police - Our thanks are also due to Northumbria Police, in particular Paul Andre and Alison Lavery, for supplying us with wet bags, floats and flippers. The use of this equipment is of great help to our coaches in their training programme's which in turn means improvements for our athletes times!

As we are a registered charity, we would like say :-

"Thank everyone that has put money in a tin for Sunderland Special Olympics.

Contributed to raffles and just been nice in general".

We need and like nice! Please keep it up.

We also thank Compass Group Transport for help with travel. Tel: 0191 5235383

Sunderland City Council LogoChildren’s Services in Sunderland - One of the most important organisations to help us “get off the ground” in Sunderland are Children’s Services. They have been and continue to be very important in helping us cut through red tape that ties competitive swimming.

Our thanks must go to Lynne Fletcher and Keith Ratcliff Educational Psychologists who’s help support and advice has been essential in getting our athletes where they are within the Special Olympics organisation.

Aiming High for Disabled Children have continued to support us in 2010 and granted us money to provide further training for our volunteer coaches.

We are very grateful for their continued support, with a special thank you to Karen Parry, not only for the financial support but also the emotional support during stressful times.

We would also like to thank the department for Children with Disabilities in Gilpin House Houghton for their help, in ways to numerous to mention.

Web site - Karen Parry from Aiming High for disabled children told us about Chris Foreman and what a blessing he is. He has built us our web site and shown our own built in IT geek Mary how to run it, and also promises continued support. Thanks Chris you are indeed a brave man!

Jayne Mckay - Sunderland school sports disability coordinator was a great help to us in the first few weeks after starting Special Olympics Sunderland. She found funding to support our swimming programme, this enabled us to find our feet and raise cash to sustain our programme and gave us a head start in starting other sports.

Jane continues to support us in many ways and is a good friend to Special Olympics, always on the end of a phone.

Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service BadgeSunderland West Fire Station

We would also like to thank the support we have had in the past year from the Sunderland West Fire Station.

They keep us entertained with their tannoy messages! but never bring the food in to us!!

They have always managed to ”fit us in” whenever SOME ONE forgot to book a room on time. I promise to try harder to remember in the future.

Thank you for your help.


Registered charity number: 800329