Vikings Wear Charity Colours With Pride
Widnes Vikings will be proudly sporting the colours of Community Integrated Care in their new kit at the Summer Bash. Celebrating the legacy of a charity that was formed in Widnes to transform the inclusion of disabled people across the UK, and continues to break boundaries today through its work in Rugby League, the kit shines a spotlight on a trailblazing organisation that is the fabric of our town.
A Pioneering Partnership
The kit celebrates the conclusion of five years of partnership between Widnes Vikings and the charity. From developing learning disability rugby league teams to training dementia friends, campaigning for disability rights to creating accessible sports and volunteering opportunities, this ground-breaking collaboration has given hundreds of local people support, hope and opportunity.
From the platform of our partnership with Widnes Vikings, we have gone on to become the Social Care Partner of Rugby League in the UK – leading innovations such as the Community Integrated Learning Disability Super League and inclusive volunteering.
The kit is available to purchase online from 6.30pm on Friday 15th July, and is available to buy in store at the Club Shop at Widnes Market from Saturday 16th July. The kit will also be made available to purchase at the Stadium Shop, between 1.30 and 3pm this Sunday 17th July, prior to the Widnes Vikings home fixture against Newcastle Thunder. Match-worn shirts from the game will be auctioned following the Summer Bash, with all proceeds being invested into our joint efforts to change lives through rugby league.
The kit has been launched with a special promotional film, which sees people who have benefited from the partnership passionately read an emotive poem about their experiences, set against a backdrop of Widnes landmarks and footage from the club’s work with the charity. Finishing with the verse, “because you’re on my team, I’m not going to hide, we wear the same colours and stand side by side”, it powerfully represents the impact of our joint efforts to champion inclusion.
Our charity was formed in Widnes in 1988, at a time when many disabled people were excluded from society, living isolated lives in long-stay institutional hospitals. Recognising that every person deserved the right to live independently within their community, Dr David Robinson, a local GP, founded the charity to pioneer Care in the Community.
We made history when we supported Shirley to become the first person in the UK with a complex learning disability to secure their own tenancy, when she moved into her own house in Anne Street, Widnes. We fought for people’s rights at a time when many people were fearful or unaccepting of disabled people living in their community and helped to shape a more compassionate and welcoming society. Shirley led a wave of inclusion, with independent living in the community being an accepted right today.
From our Widnes roots, we have grown to become one of Britain’s biggest charities and have broken countless barriers – changing the lives of tens of thousands of people. Delivering more than 10 million hours of life-changing care and support every year, and creating more 6000 jobs, across the UK and in Halton.
Jack Owens, Captain of Widnes Vikings, says: “Community Integrated Care have been a brilliant partner of the club. The difference that they make locally and nationally is incredible. Everyone in Widnes should be proud that our hometown created a charity that has changed society and made a difference to so many people. By wearing this kit, we hope to shine a spotlight on a history that many people aren’t aware of and to celebrate everything that it does to change the lives of thousands of people today. The players will feel inspired taking to the field in their colours.”
John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, says: “As a charity that was born in Widnes, it is an honour for our hometown club to dedicate a kit to our people. Community Integrated Care has always been proud of its local roots and stayed loyal to the town. Having formed in Widnes, we continue to support and employ hundreds of people locally to this day.
Community Integrated Care has an incredible history and has been so fundamental to championing many of the rights that we take for granted today. Throughout out five years of working with Widnes Vikings, we have been fortunate to work with a club that cares so deeply about its community and is driven to create opportunities for local people. From this platform that Widnes Vikings gave us, as our first partnership in Rugby League, we have gone on to achieve many special things across the sport, including the creation of the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League.
Too often, the work of carers is overlooked and unseen. This gesture will help people to understand our charity and the important role that it plays locally and nationally. Everyone who works for our charity will feel truly proud to see their local heroes and supporters of the club wearing our colours, showing their support Community Integrated Care and all that we stand for.”