Merseyside firm offers backing to thousands of athletes with learning disabilities

John Farragher and Nicki Stadames

One of the UK’s biggest provider of care facilities for people with learning disabilities, Merseyside-based Potens, is backing thousands of athletes across the UK.

From its headquarters in Birkenhead Potens operates 78 facilities for people with learning disabilities across the UK and employs around 1,450 staff – and now the company has agreed to become an official supporter of Special Olympics GB.

Potens founder and chairman John Farragher has worked with people with learning disabilities for more than three decades and started Potens in 1989.

He believes passionately in breaking down barriers so that everybody can have the opportunity to lead a fulfilling life and says Special Olympics GB offers a route to that.

Across, England, Scotland and Wales, Special Olympics GB runs approximately 27,000 regular sports coaching sessions, delivered locally each year by 140 accredited programmes across 28 different sports.

It relies on funding and support from individuals, corporates and charitable trusts and foundations such as Potens.

This support is crucial to sustain its work and for its successful growth to reach every adult and child with a learning disability through sport.

Mr Farragher said: “Every one of our staff in every single one of our facilities across the country understands our ethos that our job is not just to offer people care, but also to create an environment where they can thrive and grow as people.

“A number of our service users have taken part in Special Olympics events and you cannot underestimate the sense of achievement they feel when they compete in events.

“We will certainly be utilising this opportunity to further embrace and promote the healthy living, active lifestyles and mental wellbeing of both those we support in our services and our staff teams up and down the country.”

Special Olympics chairman, Murton Mann, added: “We are delighted that Potens has become an official supporter of Special Olympics GB.

“I know our athletes, clubs and regions around England, Scotland and Wales will be thrilled with this news.

To mark the beginning of its 12-month sponsorship of Special Olympics GB, Potens will hold a Lunch and Learn event in Wirral this Thursday, June 28, taking place in Birkenhead Park.

People supported by Potens, and their staff, will get the chance to learn more about the deal and it will be attended by Special Olympics GB representatives. It will include a learning session, BBQ and some fun sports activities.

Potens is also setting up a ‘just giving’ page for its staff and service users so teams can organise some future fundraising events and help raise money for the Special Olympics.

Potens chief operating office, Nicki Stadames, said: “Potens is making a solid commitment that will benefit our staff, our service users and everyone involved in the Special Olympics, which does brilliant work across the UK.”

The team is also running a competition for service users this month to promote health and wellbeing with winners attending a special Anniversary Games, hosted by Special Olympics Scotland which will be held in Stirling, Scotland this August.

Fnd out more about Special Olympics GB, the work they do and how to get involved at