Special Olympics Gateshead
Special Olympics Gateshead is a sporting club and registered charity that provides weekly sports training in 10 different sports to over 200 children and adults with learning disabilities across Tyne and Wear.
The weekly training provides athletes with the skills and confidence to then go onto compete in regional, national and international competitions.
The charity has a strong partnership with Newcastle United, with the clubs Academy players being mentors for Special Olympics Footballers.
The primary aim of the charity is to enable young people with disabilities to have the opportunities to fulfil their sporting aspirations as much as people without disabilities. By taking part in the programme, athletes become physically fitter, improve their confidence and feelings of self-worth, make new friends and can showcase their talents and potential - demonstrating that there is an Olympian in everyone of us.
There are currently 4 main volunteer roles available within the group:
Included below is some information on each of the four roles including the main activities that will be involved and the skills and qualifications needed by volunteers.
The Special Olympics is an established charitable group that has its own independence. In order to ensure the organisation is working towards their agreed aims and within the current limitations, there needs to be a management status. This is currently delivered through the usual charitable roles including; chair person, treasurers, trustees and committee members.
The duties associated with the Trustee role will include:
- to maintain the ethos of the charity since its inception in 2014; providing equal and fair sporting opportunities to people with disabilities, fostering acceptance and inclusion of people with disabilities in their own communities
- ensure the Special Olympics complies with its governing document, charity law, company law and any other relevant legislation or regulations
- ensure that the Special Olympics applies its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objectives
- contribute actively to the board of trustee's role in giving firm strategy direction to the Special Olympics setting overall policy, defining goals and setting targets while evaluating performance against agreed targets
- safeguard the good name and values of the Special Olympics
- ensure the financial stability of the Special Olympics
- protect and manage the property of the Special Olympics and ensure the proper investments of the Special Olympics funds
Volunteer Trustees will need to have:
- a willingness to devote the necessary time and effort
- strategic vision
- good, independent judgement
- an ability to think creatively
- a willingness to speak their mind
- an understanding and acceptance of legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship
- an ability to work effectively as a member of a team and to take decisions for the good of the Special Olympics
Part of the role of the charity is to raise their own funds to deliver the project. Such funds will enable athletes to transform their lives by taking part in regional, national (enabling athletes to stay overnight away from their homes for the first time in their lives) and even international competitions.
The main duties of this volunteer role include:
- taking part in and organising individual fundraising events and challenges
- taking part in and organising team fundraising events, such as bag packs
- organising fund raising events such as raffles, bake sales, and tombola's, or any other source of fundraising
- creating new suggestions around fundraising and fundraising events
- promoting Special Olympics to corporate organisations and trusts who may wish to donate to the project
- inspiring others to raise money for Special Olympics and providing support to enable this
- attending meetings to discuss fundraising efforts with any other fund-raising volunteers
- search for suitable funding streams through trusts and organisations that are open to applications on behalf of Special Olympics for example Lottery, Community Foundation and others
- writing applications and bids (depending on the individual requirements of each funder) to potential funders including detailed information specially about the projects and its delivery
- incorporating all the success stories of the project and athletes into requests for funding
- incorporating and updating the involvement of other corporate organisations, including Newcastle United and the Players who are involved in Special Olympics already
- writing online applications from home or resources can be provided
Volunteers will need to have the following skills and qualifications:
- dedicated and committed volunteers
- creative writing and report writing
- a desire to support services
- a desire to support vulnerable adults and children
- confidence to approach people to raise money
- confidence to submit funding applications
- excellent communication skills
- enthusiasm to get involved in activities
- an ability to network and provide links between different projects, organisations and services
- experience or skills in organising events or fundraising activities
- flexibility to become involved as and when funding becomes available and as and when funds are needed
- capability to plan for events and budgets.
The Special Olympics charity has grown exponentially and secure prodigious successes for its athletes. The project is extremely effective in fortifying a strong spirit within a sustainable community. The sporting club holds an annual awards night to recognise the sporting endeavours of every athlete and in December 2019, Alan Shearer, presented medals and trophies to each athlete
The project has access to use the mainstream sporting venues such as Gateshead International Stadium and Gateshead leisure Centre from which to deliver. This further provides visibility of athletes and developing their social status in the community.
Volunteer coaches are required to train athletes in its programme of 10 sports. The volunteers will initially assist existing club sports coaches within the sporting club in delivering weekly training sessions to athletes.
Volunteers will be funded to acquire an accredited training course which will enable them to become a lead coach in delivering sessions themselves. This provision will also be including the delivery of sports sessions to children with disabilities from Gateshead Specialist Schools, providing them with the "greatest start in life".
The coaching volunteer role will cover the following:
- an opportunity to get involved in a unique sporting project in the north east
- an opportunity to gain an accredited sports coach qualification (paid for) with experience alongside it
- a chance to get involved and support children and adults with disabilities
- an opportunity to get involved with a group of volunteers who are all passionate about the project
- an opportunity to gain experience and skills in operating as a coach in some of the main sporting facilities in the North East
- an opportunity to get involved in a project that is focussed upon participation rather than performance
Volunteers need to have:
- an interest in sporting activities
- an interest/experience in supporting people
- a desire to get involved and work with a team of people
- an accredited qualification will be acquired through the project and volunteer role, however any sporting experience and qualifications already gained will be beneficial
- good communication skills
- desire to be involved in a project which shares skills and friendships with individuals, families other Special Olympic Athletes and the community
- to become a role model and a character builder
- bring enthusiasm, commitment and a positive attitude to each practice, event and competition
- capability to enhance athletes' sports techniques, tactics and fitness
This volunteer role is for chaperones for the participants of Special Olympics activities and competitions. Athletes can take part in regional, national and international events and competitions. Chaperones would be required to attend these events with the athletes. Expenses will be covered.
While delivering this role the chaperone will be responsible for the individual, they are assigned to for up to 24 hours including overnight supervision. It is up to the chaperone to ensure that the physical and emotional needs of the athlete they are assigned to are met during the competition or event.
The activities within this role will include:
- be sure that the athlete is comfortable and happy prior to a competition
- take precautions to avoid weather related problems for the athlete - for example in summer avoid sunburn and heat exhaustion by using suncream, drinking plenty of fluids and taking advantage of shaded areas whenever possible, in winter making sure athletes are adequately clothed take advantage of opportunities to warm up and avoid sunburn and wind burn with sun cream and moisturisers
- be sure any necessary first aid is administered promptly
- ensure athletes have adequate rest
- be sure athletes eat properly, avoid overeating or missing meals
- be aware that excitement of the competition or event could encourage inappropriate behaviours - close supervision at night and at all activities is required
- to be aware of athlete's possessions - do not leave unattended, double check rooms when packing and inquire for lost items before leaving competitions or events
- to be familiar with the medical conditions, precautions and medication requirements of the athlete
- ensuring that the athlete has access to and is always wearing proper identification items including wristbands, bibs, name badges and so on
- to be familiar with all schedules of sports, special events and meals
- no alcoholic beverages, tobacco or marijuana products are allowed at special Olympic events and competitions
Volunteer Chaperones are expected to have:
- a willingness to devote the necessary time and effort
- good, independent judgment
- to be patient and understanding
- friendly and approachable attitude
- to have an interest in sport or the Special Olympics
- to be willing to travel either regionally, nationally or internationally with the individual athlete
- experience of support adults with learning disabilities
- an ability to prioritise the safety and importance of the athlete that they are supporting
- stay over night at a hotel venue with an individual when requested (which will be covered by expenses)
How to volunteer
The first step in the volunteer process is to complete the expression of interest, regardless of the type of volunteering opportunity you are interested in.