Volunteers take a huge step into international football!
Community Integrated Care was proud to see 10 people supported by our charity participate in a series of once in a lifetime volunteering opportunities yesterday evening (Thursday 17th February 2022) at the Riverside Stadium, the home of EFL Championship’s Middlesborough Football Club.
The volunteers supported a whole host of match day activities during the second fixture of the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup, a women’s football tournament hosted by The Football Association, where England Lionesses took on Canada Women. The inclusive placements have been made possible thanks to our charity’s world-first, dedicated volunteering programme for people with care and support needs.
Working in partnership with our long-standing partners, the charitable arm of Middlesborough Football Club, MFC Foundation, our charity has strived to provide significant matchday roles and experiences for the people we support.
Through the programme, which is an expansion of our charity’s Official Social Care partnership with the Rugby League World Cup 2021, Rugby Football League, and Super League, people have been given specialist mentoring and development opportunities designed to fulfil potential, promote independence and, ultimately, make many dreams come true.
Presented with the chance to showcase inclusive volunteering at this international event, our teams behind the scenes have worked hard to match people to roles in line with their interests and talents.
Volunteers have included a group of gift makers, who made unique, handcrafted soap packs prior to the game and presented these at random to fans as part of random acts of kindness day, to Gavin Walton, a person we support in the North East, who got the party started by DJ’ing on stage in the fan zone prior to kick-off! Having expressed to us his passion for music, Gavin has now performed at two international sporting events, spanning Rugby League and Football.
James Brooks, a Quality Advisor at Community Integrated Care, who took part in the event as a Retail Assistant in the official club store and Matchday Assessor said: “Myself and my friend Dean welcomed, engaged, and assisted hundreds of fans to the stadium – it was exciting to play an important role at the stadium for the club I love at an international fixture. We helped in the club store and got to see the operations behind the scenes.
We’ve also previously performed integral responsibilities as Matchday Evaluators, at last summer’s biggest Rugby League event, the Dacia Magic Weekend, which has helped guide the Rugby Football League to be more inclusive and accessible to people who access care and support.”
Lewis Webster, Sports Inclusion Communications Manager at Community Integrated Care said: “Our inclusive volunteers know how to make an impact – and together last night, we stepped into the world of international football and didn’t disappoint. We believe in the potential of our people and we’re proud that our volunteers, and our incredible colleagues that supported them, had their moment in the spotlight at this fantastic football event!
“This world-class inclusive volunteering programme is challenging perceptions, breaking down barriers and proving that people who access care and support can achieve their dreams. A huge thank you to Middlesborough Football Club, The Football Association and England Lionesses, for giving us the opportunity, showing that football has a place for everyone as we aim for a more inclusive society.”