Coca-Cola Enterprises, in partnership with Special Olympics Great Britain, has brought together staff from around Great Britain to participate in a Unified Sports tournament close to its factory in Morpeth.
The initiative is the second of its kind, returning after a successful launch in 2014.
Taking place during the company’s ‘CRS in Action Week’, a local team from Morpeth joined participants from CCE’s Wakefield and East Kilbride sites, as well as athletes with intellectual disabilities from local Special Olympics clubs to compete alongside each other in a range of sports including six-a-side football, badminton, boccia, carpet bowls, and new for this year, swimming.
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 Sports events bring participants with and without intellectual disabilities together to compete on the same team.
This year’s Unified Sports tournament saw 30 CCE employees take part – a team of 10 from each site – alongside over 30 Special Olympics athletes. Guests of honour Alison Byard, Mayor of Morpeth and Karen Wallin, CEO of Special Olympics Great Britain joined the festivities, presenting medals to the winning teams.
On hand to help with event logistics and support on refereeing were members from Morpeth Lions Club and local Special Olympics clubs.
Jane Buckley, Operations Director at CCE Morpeth, said: “For the second year running we were extremely pleased to see Morpeth represented alongside colleagues from other manufacturing sites across GB as well as athlete team members from local Special Olympics clubs. Initiatives such as the Unified Sports tournament demonstrate our commitment to playing a positive role in the communities within which we operate and we are proud to continue to support the fantastic work that Special Olympics does throughout the country and beyond. Our partnership offers insight into the important role that diversity plays within the modern workforce today, which is a key part of our global sustainability commitments. We hope everyone involved enjoyed the chance to be part of such a memorable event.”