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Niall Guite and Special Olympics Great Britain Launch Social Enterprise

Special Olympics Great Britain is delighted to announce the launch of its first social enterprise—a new online art business led by Special Olympics athlete, leader and artist Niall Guite.
An over the shoulder photograph of a man wearing glasses drawing a football/soccer stadium using a red marker.
Niall Guite drawing one of his many stadium products.

Niall Guite’s platform—Niall Guite - ‘Art with a Special Goal’—is among one of the first within the Special Olympics movement. From today, it will make Niall’s distinctive and beautiful drawings of well-known and iconic sports stadiums available for purchase across a range of products including prints and mugs. Bespoke commissions are also available on request.

The launch of Niall’s website is the culmination of 18 months of hard work and drive by Niall which started out in March 2020. During the pandemic, Niall came up with the idea to start drawing football stadiums from across the UK to raise funds for Special Olympics Great Britain during the nationwide 2.6 Challenge.

With an original target of £260, through a combination of Niall’s striking artwork and his brilliant ability to market himself, Niall smashed that target raising more than £6,000! His artwork also caught the attention of world-famous artist, Grayson Perry who posted on Twitter that he “loves” Niall’s drawings. Niall also received video messages of support from professional footballers (soccer players) Manchester City midfielder Rodri, former Sheffield Wednesday player Kadeem Harris; and Sevilla FC manager and Special Olympics Global Ambassador Julen Lopetegui, to name but a few. Not to mention the dozens of messages of encouragement from sports organisations, celebrities, and Special Olympics Great Britain athletes right across the UK.

Three men and a woman sit on a sofa holding cups looking at each other and laughing.
Niall Guite (second from left) with his brothers and mother at their home in Sheffield, UK.

Niall Guite, who is also a Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 gold medal-winning basketball player turned cyclist says, “I’m so excited to launch my business. It means the world to me. This is a social enterprise business, and I am hoping to show that people with intellectual disabilities can be successful not just in sport but in employment too. It’s a dream come true.”

Grayson Perry, contemporary artist, writer, broadcaster, generous supporter and now friend of Niall, says, “I love Niall’s drawings. He’s a brilliant artist with a beautiful signature style. I’m the proud owner of a Niall Guite original he drew for me of the London Olympic Velodrome, and I love it. Niall is a lovely man and it’s been a pleasure getting to know him recently. If you want to make a difference to someone’s life and support a worthy cause, then please visit Niall’s website.”

Niall’s website, which was built with support from Special Olympics Great Britain and Childish Design is Special Olympics Great Britains’s first step as an organisation into establishing its own social enterprise to help provide more meaningful employment opportunities for more of our athletes like Niall. With 94% of people with an intellectual disability not in paid employment* this is a great step forward and one we hope others will embrace.

Tom Casson, Athlete Leadership and Enterprise Manager at Special Olympics Great Britain, who has been working with Niall in the build up to launch, said: “At Special Olympics Great Britain our athletes are at the heart of our organisation, and we continually look to provide opportunities for them to showcase their skills and talents both on and off the field of play. Seeing Niall grow and thrive and the purpose and drive his idea has given him, made us want to do more to support Niall and the entrepreneurial skills of our athletes, hence the move into social enterprise.”

Framed drawing of a football stadium labelled ‘Old Trafford – Manchester United FC by Niall Guite’ leaning against a red wall.
Niall Guite original drawing of Manchester United stadium ‘Old Trafford’ in Manchester, UK.

“The aim of our social enterprise is for our athletes to receive as much of the profit as possible. Any profit received by Special Olympics Great Britain will be re-invested into the development of further Athlete Leadership and Social Enterprise projects for other Special Olympics Great Britain athletes and to help provide more employment opportunities for more of our athletes.”

Paul Richardson, Chair of Special Olympics Great Britain says, “This is an exciting day for not only Niall and his family but also for Special Olympics Great Britain and combines several aspects of our new four-year strategic plan—Inclusion in Action.

“We particularly love that this whole project from the start to this point has come from Niall, been driven by Niall and is a real passion project for him and we couldn’t be more delighted to support him in this way. This is Niall’s time to shine, to build on and demonstrate the many abilities and skills he has, and Special Olympics GB will be with him every step of the way.

“We know first-hand how difficult it is for our athletes to secure meaningful paid employment and for us to be able to help in this way just goes to prove what people with intellectual disabilities can achieve through transferable skills gained through our Athlete Leadership programme with the right help."

“This is only just the beginning of our Social Enterprise and we’re looking forward to being able to help other budding Special Olympics Great Britain Athlete entrepreneurs out there. So please show your support for Niall and visit his website.”

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