In appreciation of Westcroft School’s work with the Youth Sports Trust and Play Unified, Barry Austin has been invited to The House of Lords by Baroness Sue Campbell. The Play Unified ball is a symbol of the movement and Barry was sent one to enable him to pass the message on.
Play Unified is a global movement aimed at ending the injustice, intolerance and inactivity of young people with intellectual disabilities, by building a unified generation through sport. A Special Olympics Programme, delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, it is aimed at young people in secondary and special schools.
Play Unified, which is funded by Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and jointly administered by DCMS and Sport England, aims to make a real difference and help create more unified and just communities all around the world through the voice of young people. These young people will be the Unified generation, which will in turn shape the world into one in which respect, tolerance and equality prevail.
Play Unified will engage 200 schools and impact on 18,000 young people across England, Scotland and Wales. Young people with and without intellectual disabilities will come together through sport and educational programmes in schools and communities to transform perceptions and challenge attitudes on and off the field of play. This will also include Unified Sports where young people with and without intellectual disabilities train and compete alongside one another in meaningful competition. Unified Sports is funded through The One 4 All Foundation (led by Thierry Henry) and Special Olympics.
Some of the aims of Play Unified are to:
- Enable young people with intellectual disabilities to have increased opportunities to take part in more regular and inclusive sports activities
- Equip young people with intellectual disabilities with the skills to lead/promote sport and inclusion, gaining new skills and confidence to fulfil roles as coaches, volunteers and ambassadors of inclusion
- Empower young people with intellectual disabilities to have a voice in the design of the sporting opportunities they take part in