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Panathlon Foundation

Panathlon is a national charity which gives thousands of young people with disabilities and special educational needs every year the opportunity to take part in competitive sport.

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Panathlon is a national charity which gives thousands of young people with disabilities and special educational needs every year the opportunity to take part in competitive sport.
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The Panathlon Foundation is national charity focussed on reaching one of the most disadvantaged groups in society - children with disabilities and special educational needs (SEND) between the ages of 4-19; with the aim to remove their barriers to entry for participation in sport and leadership and improving their life-outcomes.

Over the last 25 years Panathlon has provided thousands of local, regional and national sporting competitions across the country, (like mini-Paralympics) for young people with disabilities and SEN, evidenced outcomes showing improvements in their health and well-being, social skills and confidence, leading to positive and improved life-changing experiences. 

Evidence has shown that early experiences of sport, whether they be competing or in leadership, encourages a lifetime of healthy participation. As such, ensuring disabled children can access the benefits of sport for physical and mental well-being is crucial.

The Panathlon Foundation inspires children with disabilities /SEN to achieve through sport in a variety ways. This can either be increasing their physical skills and abilities, their teamwork in being successful as part of a group, their behaviour amongst their peers, experiencing life outside the confines of school, and a wealth of mental health benefits including increased confidence, resilience and well-being.

Panathlon provide a targeted competition pathway with local, county-wide, regional and national finals in iconic venues, such as Stoke Mandeville and the London 2012 Olympic Park. This offers an aspirational and inspirational target for many SEND children across the country.

Research from the University of East London said that the Panathlon Foundation were “filling a gap of provision” in the marketplace. Follow-up studies identified Panathlon as increasing its participants’ ‘physical and mental well-being and developing individuals’ confidence and social skills.’

With the onset of the pandemic, Panathlon quickly adapted to an online world and as a result significantly increased their reach supporting almost double the number of young people they would typically reach in a year, with  45,000 SEND children from 583 schools enjoying the Panathlon programme. New resources were developed, such as online guidance, teachers’ packs and ‘at home’ challenges, with over 30 sports and activities to try, along with video demonstrations and downloadable guides.

Independent analysis from Bean Research revealed their response to the pandemic and the national lockdowns, which have disproportionately affected those with disabilities and special needs, has made a huge difference to young people’s lives during a time of high need. The key findings were as follows:

o   87% said it increased pupils’ self-esteem and pride in themselves 

o   79% said it increased pupils' resilience and well-being

o   77% said it created more empathy and feeling part of the class / school 

The Future 2022-2025 - As we emerge from the covid environment, we are now looking ahead to the next 3 years and have ambitions to continue to expand our programme to more schools and geographic areas including the rest of Wales and expansion in to N. Ireland and Scotland by 2025. In order to enable that to happen, Panathlon require new partners and funders across the U.K.

Please support the Panathlon Challenge - even the smallest donations help and will go to ensure more and more young people with disabilities and SEN feel included and enjoy the opportunities and benefits of healthy activity.

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