Children inspired by Winter Paralympians at festivals

New Age Kurling, Para Biathlon and Snowboarding - just some of the sports that children with and without SEND will be simulating through Dare to Believe festivals this month

Inspired by the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, Allianz has formed a partnership with national children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust (YST) to deliver four Dare to Believe Festivals between 9 and 16 March.

Twenty primary schools and 400 young people will take part to tackle attitudes and perceptions to special needs and disability among young people.

Held across the country, the festivals will enable young people with and without SEND to experience inclusive sports and activities at the same time as 670 athletes compete in 80 medal events across six sports for the Paralympic Winter Games.

Through this, the Dare to Believe Festivals hope to create shared experiences and help to develop friendships between young people, providing a real opportunity for schools and communities to promote inclusion and diversity.

Carolyn Rich, Brand Marketing Manager, Allianz, commented:

We are delighted to work with Youth Sport Trust to deliver the upcoming Dare to Believe Festivals, following the success of our programme in 2017. As sponsor of ParalympicsGB, we are really looking forward to bringing together local communities to celebrate inclusion during this exciting global event.

The festivals will have four sport stations and one breakout station, meaning pupils can learn skills that simulate snowboarding and ice hockey together as well as have time for informal play, form new friendships and watch vlogs from Winter Olympians and Paralympians competing or covering the events in PyeongChang.

Stations will be run by YST Young Leaders from its Lead Inclusion School network selected to lead the delivery of the sports, supported by their teacher and volunteers from Allianz.

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive Officer of YST said:

We are excited to be extending our partnership with Allianz following the success of the Dare to Believe Festivals last year. Their passion for inclusion initiatives, combined with our experience of working with young people and using sport for positive change, means these festivals can motivate and inspire young people with and without additional support needs to take part in sport.

“We hope that by inspiring young people through the Winter Games that they will be supported to embody the fearless and inspirational attitudes displayed by athletes in ParalympicsGB and go on to continue challenging perceptions.

Through the activities pupils will be encouraged to think about how inclusive they are on and off the playing field and how they can support everyone to feel included.

Dare to Believe festival dates:

9 March - Manchester

12 March - Guildford

14 March - London

16 March - Birmingham

Through the previous Dare To Believe festivals which took place between June and December 2017, 2,580 young people with and without SEND were reached. They also saw 149 volunteers donate 1,043 hours. For more information search #DaretoBelieve on Twitter.

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