A new club for budding young athletes has opened up in Donabate and Portrane, with huge crowds attending its official launch just before Christmas.

Special Olympics Young Athlete programme now operates from Donabate Portrane Educate Together NS with 29 eager young sportspeople already signed up.

The programme caters for children with an intellectual disability between the ages of four and 12 and introduces them to a wide range of play activities in a familiar, supportive and fun environment.

SOYA, which was launched nationally last year, also introduces the children to fundamental movement skills such as throwing, catching, jumping and balancing.

Mayor of Fingal Cllr Anthony Lavin attended the launch along with DPETNS principal Maeve Corish and Matt English, chief executive of Special Olympics Ireland.

Head coach Deborah McArdle told Dublin Gazette: “This was a great event and huge credit is due to all the athletes involved. It was full of energy and joy as the athletes gave a demonstration to the parents and guests.

“It is clear from the demonstration that the group have already bonded after their few weeks together and progress is already being made in their skills.

“This is all down to the incredible work of the volunteers who make the club such a success.”

The Donabate Portrane Special Olympics Club is the eleventh Young Athlete Club in the country and they meet up every Saturday morning.

Due to the large number of children wishing to attend, they run two sessions – one from 12-1pm and one from 1-2pm.

Predominantly led by volunteers, parents and guardians are also encouraged to take part in the sessions.

The club is looking for more volunteers to get involved and no experience is needed.

If you would like to volunteer at the club or become a member you can contact them on Facebook at Donabate Portrane Special Olympics Club, or email dpsoclub@gmail.com.