Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd (CCE), in partnership with Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB) has brought together local sports teams from its sites across Great Britain to take part in a Unified Sports Tournamentnear its factory in Morpeth as part of the company’s ‘CRS in Action’ week.
A team from CCE’s production facility in Wakefield joined participants from the company’s East Kilbride and Morpeth sites, as well as athletes from local Special Olympics clubs to compete alongside one another in six-a-side football, badminton, carpet bowls and boccia.
Unified Sports, an initiative of the Special Olympics charity, is inspired by the simple principle that training and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.
Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports competition experiences, Unified events bring participants with and without intellectual disabilities to compete together.
Alison Byard, deputy Mayor of Morpeth and Gaye Barber, national director of volunteering for Special Olympics GB were guests of honour, presenting medals to the winning teams.
Members of the Morpeth Lions and local SOGB clubs were on hand to act as competition referees and to ensure the event was fun and engaging for both participants and spectators.
Ian Johnson, operations director at Coca-Cola Enterprises, Wakefield, said: “We were delighted to send a team to join competitors from across our manufacturing sites and Special Olympics clubs to represent Wakefield in Morpeth for the Unified Sports Tournament.
“We are proud to support Special Olympics, and our ongoing partnership has helped to provide insight into key issues of disability and diversity, which play an important role in business today.
“We hope that everyone who attended enjoyed the chance to be part of such a special event.”
Gaye Barber, director of volunteering and community engagement for Special Olympics Great Britain said: “Unified Sport is very high on the agenda for the global Special Olympics programme.
“It breaks down barriers and provides a different platform for sports men and women with an intellectual disability to compete and have fun in a totally inclusive environment.
“Sport is a wonderful vehicle for our athletes to improve health and well-being, build confidence and self-esteem, make friends and develop social skills and showcase their potential and abilities on the field of play.
“CCE’s unique tri-sport event in Morpeth demonstrated all these benefits whilst having an incredibly positive impact on its staff.
“Our thanks must go to the organisers of the event for making it such a successful day and to CCE for its fantastic ongoing support as one of our most valued partners.
“I was delighted that I was able to attend on behalf of Special Olympics GB.”