Since partnering with the British Paralympic Association in 2010, I’ve had the pleasure of watching our colleagues and customers throw their support behind ParalympicsGB. Now, with just days until the launch of the next Games, I’m confident that I speak for us all when I say the excitement ahead of Rio is palpable.
Thanks to your help, Sainsbury’s has been able to continue our partnership with the British Paralympics Association in the years since London, to help supercharge our athletes, and make sure they’re at their absolute best when representing our nation in Rio. Our #Supercharge merchandise is in stores now and receiving great feedback from customers, as it helps them fly the flag for Paralympics GB, whilst also donating to the team.
Of course, the spirit of the ParalympicsGB is all about inspiring others and I’m proud to say that our colleagues, just like our athletes, have been doing a great job on this. Setting out with the aim to increase understanding of Paralympic sport in the lead up to Rio 2016, our Active Kids Paralympic Challenge has proved a huge success. The programme has allowed 2.3 million children to try sports such as goalball, visually impaired athletics and boccia. In fact, as I write this, pupils from Woodlea Junior School, Lancashire will be travelling to Rio, as a prize for logging the most miles on our ‘Road to Rio’ challenge.
Elsewhere, colleagues have been able to host a whole range of our medal hopefuls, including visits from wheelchair tennis champions Gordon Reid and Jordanne Whiley, who took time from their training schedules to meet with groups of school children in London and Scotland. Reid himself has said that he spotted some great potential in the room, and I’ve no doubt that their performances here, just as at the Games, will have distilled the importance of sport.
As a thank you for the on-going support of our colleagues, two lucky store team members have also won a trip to Rio to watch the Games, and we look forward to sharing their experiences with you in due course. What’s more, as of this week I’m delighted to say that these aren’t the only tickets we’ve been able to give away to the Games - we’ve been able to supply seats for 500 Brazilian school children to attend as part of the fantastic #FillTheSeats campaign. Not only will these further our goal to inspire a generation with inclusive sport, but it will ensure our athletes compete in front of a roaring crowd.
In short, our partnership with the British Paralympic Association has always been about supporting and promoting inclusive sport, and I’m proud to have already witnessed these results in action. We’ve already seen some great successes, and that’s before the Games even begin. All of us at Sainsbury’s send our very best wishes and good luck to ParalympicsGB. We will watching and cheering you on throughout!
Mike Coupe, CEO
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