Grassroots funding key to big sport success

MATTHEW HEPWORTH

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Special Olympics Competitor, Louise Markey at IGA Greenslopes. Photo: IGA Marketplace Greenslopes

Grassroots community fundraising is the key to large scale sporting events such as the Special Olympic Games according to the games organisers.

Special Olympics Australia host both competitive and non-competitive sporting events for people with an intellectual disability the pinnacle of which is the annual Special Olympic Games.

Louise Markey, 20, recently qualified for the Special Olympics Australia and partnered with IGA Marketplace Greenslopes to raise over $500 over the weekend.

Ms Markey said nearly every customer that shopped at the store on the weekend donated towards the cause.

“We did a dollar day for me to compete in the Special Olympics and we raised $563,” Ms Markey said.

Marketing and Communications Executive at Special Olympics Australia, Paul Wiggins said this kind of fundraising is a key to the games success.

“We try to encourage our clubs to link in with their local store to allow themselves to fundraise or raise awareness,” Mr Wiggins said.

“It works 2 ways for us, as a national organisation we engage with IGA nationwide to raise funds but we also encourage our clubs to link in with their local stores and that synergy works quiet well we’ve found,” he said.

In addition to  fundraising, Special Olympics also utilise IGA’s in-store radio, with advertisements featuring Special Olympics ambassador and Nine News Sydney Presenter Peter Overton.

For Ms Markey said the Special Olympics were about more than just the sport.

“It’s fun and I get to make friends,” she said.

Ms Markey has competed in previous Special Olympic Games and won a gold and 2 silver medals.

The 2018 National Special Olympic Games will be held in Adelaide from the 16th to the 20th of April, and will feature over 900 volunteers and 1000 athletes competing in 11 different sports.

 

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