Pupils are unified for new campaign

Pupils from John Spence Community High School help launch Play Unified, a new Special Olympics GB campaign. Picture by John Millard.

Pupils from John Spence Community High School help launch Play Unified, a new Special Olympics GB campaign. Picture by John Millard.

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Students have thrown their support behind a new campaign aiming to break down barriers for disabled youngsters.

Pupils from North Shields’ John Spence Community High School were among 25 young people from across the north east at a Youth Summit held at Durham County Cricket Club to launch a new Special Olympics campaign.

Play Unified, delivered in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, is a global movement to break down barriers for young people with intellectual (learning) disabilities.

The campaign aims to use sport and leadership skills to change perceptions of and attitudes towards young people with intellectual disabilities.

Ultimately, Play Unified seeks to break down barriers that exist for people with intellectual disabilities – both on and off the pitch – creating a unified generation.

An initial 100 Youth Ambassadors have been selected to become leaders in their schools.

Karen Wallin, chief executive of Special Olympics GB, said: “Play Unified is a global Special Olympics campaign aimed at breaking down the barriers and misconceptions towards people with intellectual disabilities.

“People with intellectual disabilities say they want to be included as equals in society.

“The unified generation will lead our movement and will do so by simply playing unified.”

Play Unified will be rolled out in 200 schools nationwide over the next two years.

For more information, visit www.playunified.com

Ali Oliver, chief executive of the Youth Sport Trust, added: “The Special Olympics GB Play Unified Summits delivered by the Youth Sport Trust provide a unique opportunity to inspire and empower young people with and without disabilities to become leaders in their schools, creating positive change and developing more opportunities for young people to take part in sport.

“Through these summits we will use the power of sport to provide a platform for young people to understand and value their peers with intellectual disabilities, build their confidence and give them the opportunity make new friends. Ultimately we want to create a unified generation.”