LOCAL Special Olympics athletes preparing to compete on a national stage this summer are calling on the public to get behind the sports charity’s biggest fundraiser this week.
Special Olympics Ulster athletes Caroline Young, Sarah Gilmore, Aodhan McNeice and Jonathan McCartney, who will compete at this year’s Special Olympics Ireland Games in Limerick, have joined the call for the public to support the Special Olympics Ireland annual Collection Day this Friday, 11th April 2014.
Vital funds raised on Collection Day will support Special Olympics Ulster, which provides sporting opportunities for 2,043 athletes with an intellectual disability in 94 clubs across the region. This is a particularly important year for the charity, with 244 local Ulster athletes set to compete in the Special Olympics Ireland Limerick Games 2014 this June.
Street collections will take place right across Ireland this Friday, in aid of the charity, with one of the main Ulster collections taking place in Victoria Square, Belfast.
Throughout this week, in the run up to Collection Day, fundraising activities have been taking place right across Northern Ireland in support of Special Olympics Ulster, supported by an array of local companies. AllState, Andras House, ATA Group, Bank of Ireland (Omagh), BTW Shiells, Causeway Chamber, Danske Bank, Donnelly Group, Eagle Overseas, Elite Electronics, FPM Accountants, Genesis Breads, Keystone Lintels, Mallons Foods, Nicobrand, PWC, RSA, Teleperformance, Translink and Web Tech NI have put forward volunteers to man collection points on Collection Day, or have organised specific fundraising events for Special Olympics Ulster, creating a strong network of fundraising activity across Northern Ireland.
The aim of the Collection Day is to raise funds to support the programme of sports training and competition opportunities offered by Special Olympics Ulster, so that every person with an intellectual disability has the opportunity to reap the rewards of participating in sport.
Shaun Cassidy, regional director, Special Olympics Ulster said: “Special Olympics Ulster currently supports over 2,043 athletes in Ulster, with year-round activities in 94 clubs across the region. Our Annual Collection Day on Friday 11th April is our biggest fundraising event of the year.
“With the support of individual volunteers and companies in towns and cities across Northern Ireland, we will raise vital funds that will allow us to continue to develop the Special Olympics programme across Ulster, helping athletes like the 244 Team Ulster athletes that are preparing to take part in the Special Olympics Ireland Limerick Games this June.
“Every donation, however small, will make a huge difference and will help to ensure that we can continue to realise our promise of changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through sport”.
Collections will take place across Northern Ireland on Friday 11th April, including a large collection in Victoria Square, Belfast, supported by the U105 street crew.
For further information about Special Olympics Ulster’s Collection Day and to donate online, visit www.specialolympics.ie/collectionday People can also help to spread the word on twitter by tweeting @SO_Ulster using the hashtag, #CollectionDay