Leicester Conferences at the University of Leicester is gearing up to host the largest ever sporting event to be held in the city – The Special Olympics 8th National GB Summer Games 2009.
Around 2,700 athletes, 1,200 coaches and 1,500 volunteers will descend on the city, 25-31 July.
The athletes will compete in 21 sports hosted in venues across the Leicestershire and Rutland area.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in the UK, the Special Olympics movement was founded in the USA in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of President John F. Kennedy. Officially a global charity and part of the International Olympics Movement, the Special Olympics provides free year-round training and competition programmes for thousands of people with learning disabilities around the world. In the UK alone there are over 8,000 members.
It is a big piece of business for the University, which will supply 3,500 bedrooms, breakfasts and evening meals together with over 5,000 packed lunches each day.
Sales and marketing manager for Leicester Conferences Trevor Miller, says: “Organising the Special Olympics has been a significant project since it not only involves dealing with the needs of 2,500 plus delegates staying at the University, but also coordinating with the many partners across the city involved with the games. Everyone here in Leicester is very excited and looking forward to welcoming the Special Olympians.
“As far as our regular conference and summer school business is concerned, despite the economic climate, we have managed to maintain business levels similar to those of last year with forward business looking healthy for 2010.”