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Special Olympics Derbyshire

Creating a pathway of training and competition

The Special Olympics Derbyshire (SOD) network was set up in 2015, funded by Special Olympics GB to help create a pathway of training and competition opportunities for people with Learning Disabilities in Derbyshire.

Special Olympics GB is the country's largest provider of year-round sports training and competition programmes for children and adults with intellectual (learning) disabilities in Great Britain.

SOD are in their infancy and are focusing development in a few sports initially that include Athletics, Basketball, Cycling, Golf and Football. If your club has players with Learning Disabilities that would like to access the Special Olympics pathway or would like to know how to become part of the SOD network then get in touch with rachael.dyer@derbyshire.gov.uk

Coaching programmes in Derbyshire


The Special Olympics Derbyshire network are working with local clubs to develop new sessions for participants.

The network is also developing coach education opportunities to help provide coaches and volunteers with the skills and knowledge they need to work effectively with the LD community.

For more details on the Athletics programme please contact Rob McCarthy on rob@denovocoaching.com or 07502 936780.

Glossop Gladiators in action.


The following clubs have opportunities for people with learning disabilities to play at:

  • Chesterfield, Tuesdays, 5.00pm -6.00pm, Chesterfield College contact 07786 14441
  • Glossop Gladiators, Wednesdays, 6.30pm - 7.30pm, Glossop Leisure Centre, contact glossopgladiators@gmail.com or 07786 14441

The Special Olympics Derbyshire network are working with local clubs and groups to develop new sessions for participants in other areas of Derbyshire.

For more details on the Basketball programme please contact Jacob Meaton j.g.meaton@gmail.com or 07786 144 414.


Boccia is a great sport for anyone to play.

There are opportunities to play Boccia at the following sites in Derbyshire:

  • Chesterfield Boccia group - Thursdays at Queens Park Sport Centre in Chesterfield, contact Gill Hawketts on gillianh3@outlook.com or 07808 173391
  • Erewash Boccia club - Sundays 1.30 - 3.00pm at West Park Leisure Centre in Long Eaton, contact John Milton johnkay46@msn.com


The following Football clubs have training opportunities for people with learning disabilities:

Ashbourne Aztecs FC:

Chesterfield FC Community Trust:

Hilton Harriers FC:

  • Thursdays 6.00-7.00pm at Etwall Leisure Centre; contact Maxine Harlow - maxine@harlows.org.uk or 07713 362019

There are lots of clubs to play Football for in Derbyshire.

Riverside FC:

  • Thursdays 6.30-7.30pm at West Park; contact Vince Wilde- info@rjfc.com or 07875 555359

Littleover Dazzlers FC:

Wirksworth Colt FC:

  • Tuesdays 6.30 - 7.30pm at Wirksworth Leisure Centre; contact Chris Whittall - crwhittall@aol.com or 07747 707117

Equestrian/Horse Riding

Scropton RDA is Derbyshire's hub for horse riding opportunities for disabled people.

Contact enquiries@scroptonequestrian.com or 01283 812753

Special Olympics clubs in the East Midlands

There are other clubs in the East Midlands that anyone can play at, click on the link below:

Other local opportunities to play sport

To find out more details of where you can play sport at inclusive clubs in Derbyshire, download the Special Olympics Derbyshire exit route flyer.

Volunteering opportunities

A local volunteer helping during a Boccia session in Chesterfield.

Within the Special Olympics Derbyshire (SOD) network there are lots of different volunteering opportunities available, including:

  • SOD steering group roles: to help SOD develop, the steering group are responsible for administration, membership, communication, marketing, fundraising.
  • Coaches: whether you already coach athletes with Learning Disabilities and want to know more about the Special Olympics pathway or whether you want to get involved for the first time, get in touch to find out more.
  • Event volunteers: various events and competitions take place throughout the year where we need volunteers to help out on the day.
  • Volunteers at clubs: help at grass roots level where our SO athletes train throughout the year; roles could be promoting the club, helping with administration or being a team manager.

Get in touch for more details: to find out more about any of these opportunities contact Rob Hartley:

Email: soderbyshire@gmail.com

Phone: 07837 498263

Getting involved as an Athlete

Children and adults with intellectual (learning) disabilities who participate in the Special Olympics sports programme develop improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence and a more positive self-image. They grow mentally, socially and spiritually and ultimately discover not only new friends, abilities and talents, but their "voices" as well.

To find out more about becoming a Special Olympics athlete, visit the SOGB website here.

To find out about what Special Olympics clubs there are across the region, visit the SOGB 'Find a Club' search here.

Follow SOD on social media

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Support Special Olympics Derbyshire

You can help support Special Olympics Derbyshire by making your online purchases through easyfundraising. All you need to do is visit the easyfundraising website and follow the easy steps, you don't pay anything extra.