The Jack Petchey Foundation supports Panathlon in providing competitive sporting opportunities for young people with disabilities and special needs in London and Essex.

They have recently announced a new grant to Panathlon for £100,478, which takes their total donated to Panathlon to over £1.2m since 2004. This year’s investment will see a 118 competitions taking place across London and Essex involving nearly 5,000 young disabled people, and a further 111 education and training days involving a further 1,075 young people.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and implications, this year will see a mix of ‘in-school’ and ‘face to face’ activities and a blend of virtual and a return to the traditional ‘external’ versions during 2022.

Ever since the Foundation’s first grant to Panathlon of £8,000 back in 2004, the Jack Petchey Foundation have helped enrich the lives of tens of thousands of young people with disabilities and special needs by providing opportunities to engage in competitive sport that they are so often otherwise denied.

Thanks to the Foundation’s support, Panathlon have also been able to create the Jack Petchey Outstanding Achievement awards. Every year since 2009 we have recognised the achievements of outstanding young people across London and Essex.  For many years these awards took place in the heart of the East End, within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Last year due to Covid, the awards moved ‘on-line’ with a variety of recipients being awarded for their outstanding success and achievements. Such a worth recipient was Jack Greer from Douncecroft School in Essex.

The impact these awards can have is exemplified by the recipient of our top award in 2015, Georgie Hart. She says her Outstanding Achiever award gave her the confidence to take part in wider society, including giving anti-bullying classes, public speaking and competing in the Paralympic sport of club throwing.

Now, having left school after competing in Panathlons for seven years, she is back helping us and has recently undergone a Young Leaders course so she can put her new-found skills to the test, helping the next generation in 2021/22.

Georgie said: “Being part of the Panathlon family means a huge amount to me. The support I have received from them and the Jack Petchey Foundation has been so important in giving me opportunities and making me who I am today. Thank you all!”

Sir Jack Petchey CBE commented: “I am so proud we have supported the Panathlon Challenge for 15 years and reached the milestone of investing £1 million. I see it as an investment in the future, enabling young disabled people to reach their full potential.

“As a youngster I was passionate about sport and I think everyone should get the chance to take part. Young people with disabilities should get as much chance to be inspired by sport as anyone else. The enthusiasm, determination and joy on the faces of the young people at Panathlon events often moves me to tears. They prove our motto, ‘If you think you can, you can!’”

Visit the Jack Petchey Foundation website