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Community Integrated Care logo on stage


Launch of Inclusive Volunteer Programme

  • In partnership with Official Social Care Partner Community Integrated Care, RLWC2021’s inclusive volunteer programme will offer training and volunteering opportunities to people who have care and support needs.
  • Learning Disability Super League player Oliver Thomason named as RLWC2021’s Official Inclusion Ambassador and also secures role with Community Integrated Care. 

Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) today (4 December, 2020) furthers its commitment to building a world-class social impact programme by teaming up with Community Integrated Care to create a ground-breaking inclusive volunteer programme for the biggest and best RLWC ever.

This world-first project, supported by Sport England’s Major Events Fund, will see the social care charity create a range of accessible and aspirational volunteering opportunities for people who have care and support needs.

Oliver Thomason holding a Rugby League World Cup ball sat in the Halliwell jones stadium

The project will run throughout 2021 and continue in the months following the tournament to provide ongoing mentoring and support.

Early plans include media clubs, recruitment of experts by experience to advise tournament organisers, the creation of school assemblies to educate young people on inclusion, and opportunities to volunteer with the RLWC2021 team. This will include opportunities to assist with media days and community sports events.

Participants will also have the chance to apply their skills and experience in exciting, person-centred volunteering roles – joining the RLWC2021’s ‘Power Squad’ tournament-time volunteering team. With roles coordinated by Community Integrated Care, individuals will volunteer alongside their families or support workers which adds an exciting dimension to the RLWC2021’s focus on making the event the most inclusive Rugby League tournament ever.

Playing a key role in this partnership will be Oliver Thomason, who has secured employment with Community Integrated Care as their Sports Inclusion Assistant. Oliver, who is a member of the Warrington Wolves Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League team, will help the charity to ensure that their sports partnerships are truly inclusive. Oliver

This is mirrored by Oliver also joining the RLWC2021 team as the Official Inclusion Ambassador for the tournament. Having championed the sport of rugby league and social inclusion in many ways since making his debut for his beloved Warrington Wolves, Oliver will be joining the team to now champion social inclusion on a global stage.

More details on these programmes will be released in due course from Community Integrated Care, the Official Social Care Partner of RLWC2021, the Rugby Football League and Super League.

Tracy Power, RLWC2021 Social Impact Director said: “We are extremely thankful to our partners Community Integrated Care and Sport England for making this project possible.”

“RLWC2021 is a tournament with a purpose and we are committed to making tangible and positive social impact within our host communities and this is another brilliant way of engaging new people into Rugby League through the power of the World Cup.”

“To have Oliver on board as an ambassador is extremely exciting, his powerful story perfectly epitomises the values of RLWC2021. His infectious energy and passion for the game will make Oliver a fantastic addition to the tournament’s unique inclusivity programme.”

Oliver Thomason said: “I am so proud to be working with the Rugby League World Cup 2021 and Community Integrated Care. These are dream jobs for me. I cannot wait to help people to be part of the World Cup and our brilliant projects. I am looking forward to making a difference and helping to promote this fantastic tournament.”

John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, said: “Community Integrated Care and the RLWC2021 organisers have been planning this project for almost two years. We are thrilled that with the tournament now one year away, Sport England have generously enabled us to make this dream project a reality.

“Volunteering is an important platform that can enable people to enjoy life-changing experiences, give back and fulfil their potential. We are thrilled that these benefits are now even more accessible to people who have support needs.

“It is an honour for our charity to lead such an exciting, impactful and important programme. We would like to thank the RLWC2021 team for their vision in supporting this world-first project. Our enormous gratitude is also extended to our partners at Sport England, who have made this possible.

“Following a very challenging year for many people, we hope that it gives people hope and optimism for a better 2021. We cannot wait for the project to begin.”

Jenny Betteridge, Strategic Lead for Volunteering at Sport England says: “We are delighted to be announcing this project with Community Integrated Care. This investment will provide opportunities for over 250 disabled people to enjoy so many of the benefits we know volunteering can bring, whilst sharing their skills and time.  It’s a fantastic chance to demonstrate that there are opportunities to volunteer in sport for everyone.”

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