Andrew Skelton (SOS Group) with two athletes from Gateshead Special Olympics who are going to Sheffield.
Jake Gradon (aged 23 from Winlaton) and Mark Proctor (wearing a cap – aged 25 from Sunniside).

Gateshead-based print management company Smart Office Systems Ltd (SOS Group) has been selected to become a Special Olympics GB National Games Supporter at #Sheffield17.

Special Olympics Great Britain announced this week that SOS Group will be a National Games Partner for this spectacular event, which is coming to Sheffield in August.

Held every four years, the flagship Special Olympics GB National Summer Games is the country’s largest multi-sports event for athletes with intellectual (learning) disabilities.

The 10th National Summer Games will see 2,600 athletes compete in 20 sports across a dozen venues in Sheffield between 7th and 12th August.



Andrew Skelton, Director of SOS Group, said: “We are honoured to support Special Olympics GB’s National Games and so many fantastic athletes with learning disabilities.

“We have long-standing links with our local Special Olympics Club in Gateshead and we know how much this competition means to them.  The excitement is building already and we can’t wait to see at first hand the achievements of these talented and committed athletes.”

SOS Group will be providing managed print services, including photocopiers, printers and engineering support, across all the competition venues.

Ensuring information is promptly supplied for athletes and their support teams will be vital to the success of the Games.

Karen Wallin, CEO of Special Olympics GB, commented: “We are thrilled to have this support from Smart Office Systems.  They will be supporting an amazing event which boasts 2,600 athletes with learning disabilities at the Special Olympics National Games in Sheffield in August this year.

“At Special Olympics GB we provide year-round sports training and competition for around 10,000 people with intellectual disability across England, Scotland and Wales and the National Games is our pinnacle event every four years.

“Special Olympics GB gives our athletes the platform to achieve their personal best and maximum potential and that will be the spirit of this showpiece event.”

Jake Gradon, a Special Olympics athlete from the Gateshead area attending the Games in Sheffield for the first time, said: “I’m most looking forward to competing and meeting new people.  I want to show how good I am and hopefully come back with some medals.  I am nervous about the number of people but will try and get over that fast.  I will focus on what I am doing.”

Special Olympics Gateshead was one of 150 clubs across England, Scotland and Wales and formed just over two years ago and aims to ensure people with disabilities can fulfil their sporting aspirations and have the same opportunities as people without disabilities.  It is a measure of the club’s success that 32 of its athletes have been selected for the Summer Games 2017.  SOS Group has supported Special Olympics Gateshead for two years, giving training equipment to athletes, supporting their annual awards celebration and helping raise the funds required to send athletes to Sheffield.

SOS Group Ltd launched in 2002 to supply digital office equipment, related software and support.  Based on the Team Valley, the company also has an office in Bristol and services ‘blue chip’ clients nationally and, increasingly, internationally.

It employs 23 staff and its services include document management, scanning, cost consultation, managed print services and supplying and maintaining leading brand digital office equipment.  It is an accredited Kyocera UK agent and Lexmark approved partner.

The firm has a long-standing tradition of local charity support and is the key sponsor for fundraiser Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison as he continues his Around the World running challenge.


For more information please contact:

Chris Hull at Special Olympics GB on 07713193927


Liz Luff on 0772 5878 928/


Sports and venues at Special Olympics 2017 National Games include:

Football (Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park – SHUSP), Athletics (Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Centre – SHUCAS), Swimming (Ponds Forge International Sports Centre), Boccia (Ponds Forge International Sports Centre), Badminton (English Institute of Sport Sheffield – EISS), Table Tennis (English Institute of Sport Sheffield – EISS), Judo (English Institute of Sport Sheffield – EISS), Young Athletes ‘Come & Try’ (English Institute of Sport Sheffield – EISS), Powerlifting (Forge Valley Community School), MATP (English Institute of Sport Sheffield – EISS), Gym Rhythmic (Ice Sheffield), Gym Artistic (Ice Sheffield), Golf (Rother Valley Golf Club), Sailing (Pugneys Watersports Centre & Country Park), Basketball (All Saints Sports Centre), Netball (All Saints Sports Centre), Short Mat Bowls (Graves Health and Sports Centre), Tennis (Graves Health and Sports Centre), Ten Pin Bowling (Hollywood Bowl), Cycling (Forge Valley Community School), Equestrian (Parklands Equestrian Centre), Indoor Bowls (Doncaster Indoor Bowls Club).


About Special Olympics Gateshead:

Formed in June 2014, Special Olympics Gateshead has 88 athletes who have participated in training and / or regional and national competitions – winning 188 medals from 35 competitions in the process.  For the Special Olympics Gateshead athletes, participating is not only about competing in their chosen sport, it is also about meeting athletes from other areas of the country, making new friends, having fun, facing challenges, improving their health and challenging preconceptions about learning disabilities.  Special Olympics Gateshead has qualified coaches who provide training in 9 mainstream sports – Archery, Athletics, Boccia, Cycling, Football, Swimming, Table Tennis, Ten Pin Bowling and Powerlifting – within mainstream facilities including Gateshead Leisure Centre and Gateshead International Stadium.  It is one of 141 Special Olympics Clubs in Britain and there are also established clubs in Sunderland and Northumberland.


Special Olympics Gateshead has made phenomenal progress in a short space of time winning three regional awards:

  • ‘Groups who have made a difference’ award at the 2015 North East Equality Awards
  • ‘Putting People First Personalisation’ award at the 2015 North East Care Awards
  • ‘Outstanding Sports Club’ award at the 2015 North East Disability Sports Awards


And one national:

  • ‘Personalisation’ award at the 2016 Great Britain Care Awards in Birmingham in May 2016


For more information about the Special Olympics Great Britain National Summer Games 2017, please visit: