Supporting the needs of local communities in the road towards inclusion

Access to services and activities, which for residents of large urban centres can be taken for granted, is often not easy for those living on the islands of the country throughout the year. Over time, moreover, the need to strengthen local communities in the islands and to support their inhabitants is becoming critical. Aiming at an inclusive society, the big bet is to ensure equal opportunities for all citizens. In this context, those initiatives that enhance inclusion and social integration contribute both to the effort to equal access and participation of all citizens in activities, and to the overall formation of a culture of inclusion in society. The important work performed for 36 years by Special Olympics Hellas, focuses on inclusion through sport, while highlighting the concepts of offering and solidarity, through volunteerism. A valuable helper in this effort is now the Attica Group, which, moreover, takes important and multifaceted actions, consistently supporting the needs of residents in the islands where it operates. As President of the Attica Group, Mr Kyriakos Cooker, pointed out, “the important contribution of Special Olympics Hellas is summed up in 4 words: respect, acceptance and social participation”, adding that with “their important work contribute to the active presence of our fellow humans in society and the formation of a reality, as the modern way of living dictates, in a society that is constantly changing.” Through the unification of their forces, under the three-year agreement recently signed, Special Olympics Hellas and Attica Group, aim to strengthen the inclusion through sport. Attica Group becomes a gold sponsor of Special Olympics Hellas providing funding for the operation of the relevant programmes implemented by the Agency for the years 2024, 2025 and 2026. The aim of the cooperation is to support the increased demand in the Greek islands for participation in the existing Special Olympics Hellas programmes and to strengthen them in important ports and islands of Cyclades & the North Aegean. As the President of Special Olympics Hellas, Ambassadors e.t. Mr. Dionysios Kodelas said, “the generous donation of the Attica Group will give an additional boost to the spread of Special Olympics Hellas, in every corner of Greece, especially in our islands, by conveying our Movement’s noble message for a human and inclusive inclusive inclusive society.” This partnership is expected to enable residents from the island regions of the country to participate actively in society through sport. Support for programmes will cover important needs for the implementation of local actions such as: Adding new sports to existing, searching and integration of new Professors of Physical Education by training them in the regulations and philosophy of Special Olympics, collaboration with Sports Local Associations, awareness raising of the local community, strengthening the volunteering program and the already existing actions of Special Olympics. In addition, the International Educational Programme “We Play Together”. We learn Together” – “Play Unified: Learn Unified” by Special Olympics International. This is an innovative educational experiential programme that enables all students to participate together (mixed groups) in sporting activities, promoting the value of meaningful inclusion, implemented in a total of 21 countries. Now 10 Schools of General and Special Education of Primary and Secondary Education from the Cyclades islands (Syros, Naxos, Paros, Santorini), 8 Schools of General and Special Education of Primary Education in the islands of the North Aegean (Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Limnos), with 260 students participating, 30 teachers. “Through our multifaceted cooperation, we find an ally in two directions. On the one hand, we contribute to inclusion and on the other, we create value for the island regions of our country, which have always been the focus of our social sensitivity. As a Group, we seek and welcome with great pleasure any opportunity that gives us the opportunity to create favourable conditions for communities to exist, away from all kinds of exclusion,” the president of the Attica Group stressed.