Spotlight on Special Olympics GB


Special Olympics GB

Special Olympics GB based at CAN Mezzanine, Old Street is the largest provider of year-round, all ability, sports programmes in Great Britain and supports thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities on a continued basis.

Here we find out how the organisation works, what the next big event is, how you can get involved and why they love being based at CAN Mezzanine, Old Street.

How do Special Olympics GB work?

The mission of Special Olympics GB is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. This will give them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Key facts and stats

  • More than 27,000 regular sports coaching sessions take place across England, Scotland, and Wales each year.
  • This coaching leads to an average of 100 all-ability, inclusive sports competitions annually. Providing athletes of all abilities opportunities to compete and progress at local, regional, national, and international levels.
  • The extensive programme is led by over 4,000 dedicated volunteers in a variety of sports coaching, administrative, event, logistic, fundraising and supporting roles.

“People with disabilities can do anything in this world, and it’s really important that we get that across to the world”
Hazel Johnson, Special Olympics Athlete 

What is the next big event for Special Olympics GB?

The next big event is the Special Olympics World Summer Games, it’s being held in Abu Dhabi from 14th – 21st March 2019 and is the first Special Olympics World Games to take place in the Middle East.

Every two years the Special Olympics hold its World Games. Alternating between Summer and Winter Games, the Special Olympics World Games is usually – and certainly will be in 2019 in Abu Dhabi – the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world that year.

How is the event made up?

  • 170+ nations
  • 7,000 special athletes
  • 2,600 coaches
  • 20,000 volunteers
  • 500,000 spectators

The Special Olympics GB team will see 128 athletes and Unified Partners taking part in 17 of the 24 sports featured.

The World Games are Special Olympics flagship event and it is the pinnacle competition for Special Olympics athletes. For our athletes, excellence is personal achievement, a reflection of reaching one’s maximum potential – it is a goal to which everyone can aspire.

How can people get involved with the work you do?

As a non-profit sports organisation Special Olympics GB offers a powerful and life-changing personal journey for all who participate.

Join in the fun today and get involved as:

  • Athletes
  • Families and Supporters
  • Volunteers
  • Sports coach or Official
  • Unified Partner
  • Supporter

"My first week as a volunteer left me with a mixture of feelings...but most of all a real sense of doing something worthwhile. Would I recommend people volunteer for Special Olympics? Absolutely!"
Christy (Special Olympics volunteer)

Get involved today!


5 reasons Special Olympics GB love CAN Mezzanine 

  • Environment – it’s a relaxed environment which makes it a very easy place to work in
  • Networking – there are fantastic networking opportunities that allow us to integrate with other organisations on a daily basis
  • Collaboration – we are able to learn about other organisations and understand how we can work together
  • Shared passion – it’s great to work around others who are equally as passionate about the third sector
  • Location - the office is in the heart of a buzzing location


“Moving to CAN Mezzanine has been fantastic for Special Olympics GB as it has created new networking opportunities with other third sector organisations. New contacts and partnerships have already been made in the short period we have been at CAN and we look forward to seeing how these progress. We are now hoping to reach out to other organisations across the CAN Mezzanine network to look at how we can work together in the future!”
Michelle Carney, CEO, Special Olympics GB. 


Follow Special Olympics GB on Twitter and Facebook.

Category: Mezzanine