Volunteers make memories at Magic Weekend
Last weekend, Community Integrated Care supported over 30 individuals to take part in a series of life-changing volunteering opportunities at Rugby League’s biggest summer event, the Dacia Magic Weekend, live from St James’ Park – the home of Premier League football legends, Newcastle United.
These unique volunteering placements have been made possible through Community Integrated Care’s world-first, dedicated volunteering programme for people with care and support needs.
In partnership with the Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021), Rugby Football League and Super League, people supported by our charity have been given specialist mentoring and development opportunities, designed to fulfil their potential, promote independence, and make dreams come true.
Each person played a variety of integral, inclusive volunteering roles in the run up to the event and across the weekend, on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th September.
From a team of matchday photographers, using skills learned through our photography club to capture memories at the event, to a group of avid bakers who whipped up over 120 cakes for Sky Sports and Super League colleagues to enjoy – there really was an opportunity for everyone!
James Brooks, a Quality Advisor within our charity, has also taken part in numerous projects that have helped him to develop his skills and confidence, becoming an advocate for inclusion. As a Matchday Evaluator, James even took to the stage, speaking in front of thousands of rugby league fans, about the importance of championing accessibility at sports events.
Gavin Walton, a person we support from Middlesbrough, even fulfilled his lifelong dream of performing as a DJ to a crowd of people!
In the build up to the event, there was also a range of accessible and aspirational volunteering placements, specifically designed to be inclusive to all people supported by our charity. This included members of our inclusive media club sitting shoulder to shoulder with professional sports journalists at the official Super League press conferences. Aspiring journalists including Dylan Prinsep, Jake Lindsay and Kenzie Appleton addressed the first team coaches and star players of the Super League teams confidently, gaining recognition from the professionals.
We also worked with Super League to showcase the artwork of people we support in the Dacia Magic Weekend official matchday programme. More than sixty people had their creative illustrations of players, coaches, and crests, featured in the matchday magazine and in a special digital publication. Their artwork has also been shared on the Super League website.
John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, said:
“We are immensely proud of the work of our inclusive volunteers, who’s incredible skills and personalities have had the opportunity to shine on one of Rugby League’s biggest stages. Through the support of our charity, we’re delighted to enable people who access care and support to achieve their dreams, through making spectacular experiences like this become a reality.
Our thanks go to our partners at Super League, the Rugby Football League, and the Rugby League World Cup 2021, for giving Community Integrated Care the opportunity to help our inclusive volunteers make their mark, break down prejudices and show the world their unlimited potential.”
Michael Duffy, a RLWC 2021 Inclusive Volunteer, said:
“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. I’ve never experienced anything like this. I loved meeting new people from across the charity, such as DJ Gav, and the fans around the ground.
As the Matchday Photographer, I took lots of photos, some with different angles and variations, in and outside St James’ Park. The atmosphere was incredible and I can’t wait for more opportunities to be an inclusive volunteer. It was so exciting and every moment was unforgettable.”