We will establish a Foundation dedicated to helping athletes with an intellectual impairment, down syndrome and autism across the world to achieve in sport and to be the best that they can be. We will support young talented athletes to become champions in international and Paralympic competition by helping to overcome the hurdles of equipment, kit and competition costs - realising their potential and fulfilling sporting dreams.
Intellectual impairment knows no boundaries. It cuts across the lines of racial, ethnic, educational, social and economic backgrounds, and it can occur in any family. According to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Report on Disability there are between 178 million to 256 million people worldwide with an intellectual impairment. That's 2-3% of the world population. It is the largest impairment group and for most it is a non-visible impairment.
Virtus will establish a Foundation to make awards of grants, equipment or other interventions that will help an athlete to achieve their sporting potential. The Foundation will ensure that funds go directly to the most deserving athletes, for example, we might provide a set of professional running shoes because they are not available to an athlete in developing nations, or we might subsidise the cost of competition entry for an athlete whose family is not able to work.
The Foundation will support those athletes who have the ability to compete with the best in the world but are limited or unable to do so because of a financial or other barrier. The long term impact will be more international-level athletes with an intellectual impairment and we aim to support up to 200 young people. By realising talent and ensuring that people can be their best, we create role models and inspire others.