Inclusive Volunteers at Super League Final 2021

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Celebrating Inclusion for ‘Weeks of Action’

Over the past 12 months Community Integrated Care have continued to work with our partners in the sporting industry to further social inclusion in sport, with the aim of making live sport a positive and accessible experience for all.

Our campaign for inclusion in sport has included: our charity securing the world’s first official social care partnership with the Rugby League World Cup 2021; strengthening associations with leading English Football League teams Manchester City, Portsmouth FC and Middlesborough FC; and collaborating with disability access charity, Level Playing Field.

This week marks the conclusion of Level Playing Field’s ‘Weeks of Action’ campaign (Saturday 26 February to Sunday 13 March) – an annual period of inspiration and celebration of good access and inclusion at sports venues. In recognition of this, we’re reflecting on some of the incredible steps forward we’ve taken in championing inclusion on a global scale.

Official Social Care Partners
We’re proudly the Official Social Care Partner of Super League, the Rugby Football League (RFL) and Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC 2021), celebrating five years in partnership with the RFL and all of the leading teams. From employability programmes with St Helens, to multi sports clubs with Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings, online activity sessions with Leeds Rhinos, and even the chance to design England Rugby League national team’s training top, we’ve seen collaborations and social projects like no other charity has, in sport.

Through our unique Inclusive Volunteering Programme with the RLWC 2021, people with learning disabilities and autism are playing a variety of important roles at live RLWC 2021 fixtures, in stadiums across England! Pre-tournament personal development projects, mentoring initiatives and access to exclusive volunteering opportunities mean that we’re enabling people we support to make their mark on the grandest of stages.

James Brooks, a Quality Advisor at Community Integrated Care, is part of our specialist group, advising the tournament organisers on how to make the event more inclusive and accessible to disabled fans. His expertise has led him to volunteering across numerous sports, with responsibilities for evaluating matchdays at his childhood club and EFL Championship side, Middlesbrough FC.

He said, “I’m proud to hear that we are making a difference in football, rugby league and beyond. Live sport is for us all to enjoy!”

Our Award-winning Ambassador
In January 2021, we were delighted to welcome the remarkable Oliver Thomason to our charity, as our Sports Inclusion Specialist. Oliver has made an incredible impact in the past year, including being appointed the Official Inclusion Ambassador for the Rugby League World Cup 2021.

A key player for Warrington Wolves in Community Integrated Care’s Learning Disability Super League, he truly champions disability inclusion on a global scale, on and off the field.

He is integral to our charity in encouraging people with learning disabilities to engage in opportunities across sport. His incredible efforts were even recognised at the prestigious care sector ‘Learning Disability & Autism Awards’ where he was awarded ‘Care Newcomer’, recognising his success in enabling people to find and fulfil their potential through our sporting programmes.

Oliver said, “I’m thankful that my hard work in championing inclusion for people with learning disabilities is being recognised. I hope that this can inspire others to push forward with their goals and dreams, as you never know what you can achieve!”

This is inclusive volunteering!
On Rugby League’s biggest stages, our charity’s inclusive volunteers are taking the spotlight, thanks to our world-first Inclusive Volunteering programme with the RLWC 2021. Volunteering placements at the likes of the Dacia’s Magic Weekend and Betfred Super League Men’s and Women’s Grand Finals, saw people with learning disabilities:

– deliver baked cakes to the Sky Sports Broadcasting Team
– DJ to thousands in the fan zone live on a local radio
– support prestigious trophy presentations
– take official photos and conduct player interviews across matchdays
– create the official illustrations of Super League players in the matchday programme

We even stepped onto the international football scene, through placements at the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup! Alongside the world’s best women’s footballers, our volunteers shined in roles behind the scenes, integral to making a successful fixture.

Through exceptional experiences such as these, we’ve been enabling people to show off their skills – demonstrating their incredible talents, and gaining confidence and independence in the process.

You can read more about our incredible partnerships in our latest Annual Review or find out more about Level Playing Field’s ‘Weeks of Action’ here.

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