University of Sheffield proud to host Special Olympics GB 2017 Summer Games athletes

Thousands of Special Olympics athletes, families and staff were hosted by the University of Sheffield at their student accommodation this week (7 - 12 August 2017).

Staff helping at the Special Olympics

The University’s Endcliffe / Ranmoor, Halifax Hall and Jonas sites have become the official Special Olympic village for the 2017 games and is accommodating over 3000 athletes, coaches, carers, officials and volunteers, providing 6,500 meals per day across five dining rooms. 

The tenth multi-sports event, which last visited the City in 1993, was focused on athletes with intellectual disabilities and is the only other games to bear the official Special Olympic title. The athletes competed at fourteen sporting venues around the city and beyond, with the Opening Ceremony taking place at the Sheffield United football stadium on Tuesday evening.

The Edge Paddock at Endcliffe was home to the Special Olympic Athletes Village, providing recreational and fun activities when the athletes were on site between competitions. Friday night saw the grand finale to the week with a farewell celebration on the Edge Paddock and Piazza.

Deborah Tilbrook, General Manager for Hospitality at the University of Sheffield, said: “Creating a welcoming environment for all of the athletes, coaches, families and officials involved in these Special Olympics has been a pleasure and privilege.

“The whole team from Accommodation and Commercial Services have taken time out of their usual role to welcome athletes to our accommodation, ensure that the 6,500 meals per day were served quickly and efficiently, and to provide support from being a human signpost to guide people around the village, to sharing the athletes proud moments when they returned in the evening wearing their hard won medals.

“We would be honoured to welcome the Special Olympics Games teams back in the future and we hope that their stay with us was enjoyable and memorable.''

We would be honoured to welcome the Special Olympics Games teams back in the future and we hope that their stay with us was enjoyable and memorable.

deborah tilbrook, general manager for hospitality

The University has worked in collaboration with Sheffield City Council to bring the event to the city of Sheffield, with the event bringing thousands of visitors to the city and providing a boost to the economy.

Councillor Mary Lea, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Parks, said: “The Special Olympic National Games has been brilliant and it was great to work with the University of Sheffield which hosted the athletes in their student accommodation. It’s been wonderful to watch the whole city get behind the Games and support the athletes.”

The Special Olympics team were impressed by the design of student accommodation - especially the extensive green space, the high quality bedrooms, generously sized and accessible dining areas, wide walkways and an abundance of recreational space for athletes to enjoy.

The University boasts a wide range of high quality conference and hospitality services with all profits made from commercial activities going straight back into the University to benefit students.

Additional Information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Kirsty Bowen
Media Relations Officer
0114 222 1034