The wonderful support of the Jack Petchey Foundation helps Panathlon provide competitive sporting opportunities for young people with disabilities and special needs in London and Essex.

The Foundation has donated almost £1.5million to Panathlon since 2004, including its most recent donation of £132,620 for the 2023/24 academic year. In 2024 alone, this will enable us to provide 300 days of competitive activity for just under 10,000 children and young people in London and Essex.

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

Thanks to the Foundation’s support, Panathlon has also been able to create our annual Jack Petchey Foundation Outstanding Achievement awards. Every year since 2009 we have recognised the achievements of young people across London and Essex whose determination and bravery has shone brightest.  

Our winners in 2022/23 included Finn Bartholomew from Alexandra Park School in Haringey (pictured above with Jessica Villiers, Grants Officer at the Jack Petchey Foundation), whose extraordinary determination and list of sporting accolades earned him our blue riband ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award. He has never let the difficulties caused by his muscular dystrophy hold him back. Read more about Finn here.

The stories of our other 2023 Jack Petchey Foundation award winners, James Barrett, Chloe Wingrove, Angel-Jane Moloney, Young Leader Jack Sims and Riverside School are equally inspiring.

For many years until the pandemic, these awards took place in the heart of the East End, within the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The impact these awards can have is enduring, as shown by 2015 winner Georgie Hart (pictured above, centre). 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.

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: “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.