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Welcome to the Mayflower Games Volunteer Portal

SOPD in Stadium

Thank you for visiting the volunteer pages. Here, you will discover everything you need to know about the volunteer programme for the Mayflower Games, and if you decide that this is something you want to do, you can make an application while you are here.

An Introduction to the Games

To give them their full title, the Special Olympics Mayflower 400 Commemorative Games (SOM400) will be the first major event of Plymouth’s Mayflower 400 commemorations in 2020. The Opening Ceremony is to be held on the 03rd of April 2020 with competitions taking place on the 04th and the 05th.

The teams that have been invited have a connection with the Mayflower voyage, either because they come from a town, city or region where Mayflower passengers came from, or represent a place that has a connection with the Mayflower voyage, such as Plymouth here in the UK.

Why are the Games so Important?

The Special Olympics Mayflower 400 Games will be the largest multi-sport Special Olympics event ever hosted in the South West and will be an opportunity for the athletes attending to showcase theirs skills, hard work and sporting ability on the field of play. This will be a platform on which to build and to attract, encourage and engage new athletes, volunteers and partner organisations as a lasting legacy of this unique event, in Plymouth and right across the region.

There will also be an international invitational element to the Games to reflect the history of the event with representations from Holland and the USA, to share and celebrate the City of Plymouth with them.

This will be the spark which will ignite Plymouth and the region to enhance, empower and change the lives of people with a Learning Disability through active participation in sport.

This historic event will not only be fun, bring lasting friendships and a great adventure, but will be a massive inclusion and awareness promotion for Plymouth, the South West Region and Special Olympics GB.

We are in a unique position to contribute to health improvement and equality for people with Learning Disabilities and their families. Sport is particularly important in promoting physical and emotional health, as many health problems are directly associated with inactivity.

The games will create an explosion in physical activity and a future legacy of increased participation in sport within the Learning Disability community.

Why are we the right people to deliver this?

Special Olympics is an IOC recognised organisation founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver and has recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

Unlike the Olympics and Paralympics for elite athletes, Special Olympics differs in that it aims to offer opportunities for athletes of all abilities to take part in a range of sports every day of the week, every week of the year.

In 2011 we launched a local charity called SPECIAL OLYMPICS PLYMOUTH & DISTRICT (SOPD) whose aim is to provide year-round sport coaching, training and competition for adults and children with Learning Disabilities, regardless of their ability.

The club has grown over the past 8 years from an initial group of 11 to now having a club membership of over 300 athletes.

Learning Disability (LD) is the biggest disability group in the country, estimated to be 2% of the population. For more information on LD, see the mentalhealth.org.uk website.

We provide quality sports training 50 weeks per year to encourage fitness, commitment and discipline through sport to provide as many Special Olympics athletes as possible with the opportunity to participate, train and compete in local, Regional, National and International events.

What will Your Contribution as a Volunteer Achieve?

It will change lives, highlight the abilities of people with Learning Disabilities and support a shift in attitudes towards disabled people.

It will help to counteract the isolation experienced by people with Learning Disabilities and improve self-esteem, an important factor in coping with life, especially bullying.

It will provide a forum for developing greater awareness and lasting relationships between disabled and non-disabled people.

You will offer an opportunity for people with Learning Disabilities to enhance personal confidence, improve health and well-being, develop courage, social skills, friendships with other athletes and promote inclusion.

Your contribution will also champion the promotion of awareness, integration and the realisation that people with a Learning Disability have a real worth and should be afforded the dignity and respect of society.

What do we Expect of You?

Generally, we will expect all our volunteers to commit to at least three shifts, though in order to give this opportunity to as many as possible, we can be flexible about this especially to allow for childcare and work commitments.

Shorter shifts, late starts or early finishes can all be used to accommodate other commitments for our volunteers. We just ask that you make us aware of such things BEFORE you start your first shift.

We will expect you to turn up for your scheduled shifts on time and to notify us as soon as possible if you are unable to attend, so that a substitute can be found to take your place.

You will be the eyes and ears of the games, and we expect you to be alert, patient and to wear a smile.

What will you gain from your volunteering?

A chance to develop communication and leadership skills.

You will meet new people and, we hope, make new friends.

You will learn about other cultures and countries and have a unique opportunity to share your talents.

You will be part of a unique and life-changing event where we hope you will have a fun and rewarding experience.

What Now?

Special Olympics Great Britain is a non-profit organisation and the largest provider of year-round sports coaching and athletic competition in summer and winter sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

There are currently more than 120 all ability, inclusive sports clubs covering 28 sports across England, Scotland and Wales providing approximately 27,000 regular sporting sessions per year, all delivered by a team of more than 3,700 dedicated volunteers.

You can read about Special Olympics GB by clicking this link and about Special Olympics Plymouth and District via any of the other pages on this website.

The various volunteer teams are described here and if you decide that the Mayflower Games is for you, the application form is here.

Click here to access the volunteer handbook, which gives various details about venues, safety and other important topics. You are welcome to download it for your own use.

We hope you will consider volunteering for these unique games and look forward to meeting you.