Young people shoot for the stars at Unified Basketball festival

More than 240 primary and secondary school children from across Berkshire, both with and without intellectual disabilities, Special Educational Needs and other disabilities, have taken part in a ‘unified basketball’ and games festival.

The event, a partnership between Hasbro and Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB), was delivered by children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust (YST). It taught young people the importance of using sport to make a positive difference in the lives of those around them.

When not on the court, children were able to make friends and play games supplied by Hasbro and staffed by Hasbro volunteers. Many of the toys produced by Hasbro, including JENGA and PIE FACE games, were also donated for children to take home to their families.

With the support of Hasbro’s signature philanthropic initiative, BE FEARLESS BE KIND, the event provided resources to help parents and children build a kinder, more compassionate generation; a generation where all young people are included. This is a guiding principle of the Special Olympics movement, as a society where differences are appreciated; where empathy and compassion are nurtured in children, and where they get the feeling of fulfilment that comes with doing the right thing.

With the BE FEARLESS BE KIND initiative, Hasbro encourages everyone to stand up for others, be inclusive, and make a difference. This event was also part of Hasbro’s wider ‘Unified Strategy for Schools’ effort, which Special Olympics is supporting:

  • Hasbro has supported the expansion of the Unified programme globally in eight different countries (Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, India, Italy, Mexico, UK).
  • The Reading BE FEARLESS BE KIND event was the first event as a partnership between SOGB, YST and Hasbro. It follows Hasbro supporting BE FEARLESS BE KIND initiatives all over the world.

The Youth Sport Trust, with BE FEARLESS BE KIND, will be the delivery partner for Special Olympics to roll out a #PlayUnified Basketball sports programme in schools for children with and without intellectual difficulties.

Vicci Wells, development manager for Youth Sport Trust, said:

We are excited to be the delivery partner for Hasbro and Special Olympics GB through BE FEARLESS BE KIND.

Hasbro and Special Olympics GB’s passion for inclusion initiatives in schools, combined with our experience of working with young people and using sport for positive change, means this and future events can motivate and inspire young people with and without additional support needs to take part in sport.

This event is a great opportunity to engage more than 240 children and support them to have the compassion, empathy and courage to stand up for others, include everyone, and make a difference in their communities.

The vision of BE FEARLESS BE KIND is ‘training and playing together to create understanding, acceptance and friendship between young people with and without intellectual disabilities’.  

As part of the wider partnership between Special Olympics and Hasbro, the programme will:

  • Reach 16 schools across Slough and the East Berkshire area - eight primary schools (year 6) and eight secondary/special school
  • Run a ‘Unified Sport’ Basketball sports programme with support from professional basketball coaches for all young people involved. 
  • Support schools across the Berkshire area with over 20 Team Hasbro volunteers, and delivering a combination of Unified Basketball and Games zones at the festival- a culmination of all the young people’s hard work.

Hasbro will be working with England Basketball, Reading Rockets and the Bracknell Cobras to ensure young people have the opportunity to continue to play basketball beyond school.

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