Our volunteers help launch ground-breaking LDSL event
Media Club members from our Inclusive Volunteering Programme with the Rugby League World Cup 2021 have played key roles in the draw for this weekend’s ground-breaking Learning Disability Super League World Cup Festival.
This Sunday, October 2, teams from the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League will represent each of the 16 countries that take part in this year’s men’s Rugby League World Cup, giving hundreds of players who access care and support to live out their dreams playing on the pitch at the home of the Leeds Rhinos, Headingley Stadium.
Foundations supporting the event are: Barrow Raiders; Castleford Tigers; Featherstone Rovers; Hull FC; Hull KR; Leeds Rhinos; Newcastle Thunder; St Helens; Salford Red Devils; Sheffield Eagles; Wakefield Trinity; Warrington Wolves; Widnes Vikings; Wigan Warriors; York City Knights.
When the live draw for the event was held at Headingley Stadium, RLWC2021 Inclusive Volunteers Jenny Robinson, Jake Lindsay, Declan Jenkinson and Michael Duffy all used skills that they have developed with the charity’s support through weekly, online media club sessions, enabling them to fulfil important roles on the day.
Our Sports Inclusion Specialist Kurtis Marsh explained: “We had four volunteers in total. Jenny and Dec helped to present the draw alongside England Wheelchair rugby league international James Simpson. Our volunteer photographer Michael took snaps, while Jake produced a behind-the-scenes vlog on the event.
“Now that the draw has been revealed I think there will be some really excited players ready to represent the countries they’ve been allocated. It was a really fun and accessible opportunity for our volunteers, and we’re grateful to the RFL for opening up and facilitating those roles for us.”
Volunteer Jake produced a behind-the-scenes vlog that will be shown on his YouTube channel ‘The Jake Lindsay Show’. He added: “It was really exciting to be part of the draw. Now that everybody knows which countries they will represent I think they will be very excited about the tournament.”
Rugby Football League Social and Inclusion Manager Chris Godfrey explained: “It has been fantastic engaging with volunteers from the inclusive volunteering programme in producing and facilitating the Community Integrated Care, Learning Disability Super League World Cup Festival.
“It not only has a great social impact but added so much to the content being captured along with all the behind-the-scenes parts too. Having Jenny and Declan in front of camera and Michael and Jake behind the camera documenting the day was great as they were all exceptional in their roles.
“I hope it inspires more people with learning disabilities, autism, and associated conditions, to get involved, push the perceived boundaries they have, and show how much potential is within this community.”
John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, said: “We’re all very excited to be part of the Festival of World Cups. Nearly 300 players from 16 Rugby League club foundations will take to the field at one of the best stadiums in the country. It’s a mouth-watering prospect for everybody involved and 2 October can’t come soon enough.
“Our relationship with the RFL has changed countless lives and transformed the opportunities that exist for many people, with disabilities, and the support we have had from RLWC2021 has been fantastic. What we offer is unique in world sport and is something the whole of Rugby League can be proud of.”
The Learning Disability Super League is a world-first programme of its kind, established in 2018 is a world-first programme that gives people who have learning disabilities and autism the chance to play a specially adapted version of rugby league for the clubs that they love. It aims to promote the development of skills, confidence, and positive experiences, and make a major statement about social inclusion. This initiative is the first ever example of a professional sports league sharing its brand with a learning disability sports programme.