By Megan Stringer
Super League and the Rugby Football League have partnered with social care charity Community Integrated Care to form an inclusive sports programme for people with learning disabilities and autism.
The event is the first of it’s kind, and a world first for a professional sports league to share its brand with a learning disability sports programme.
The initiative will give people with learning disabilities the chance to play an adapted version of Rugby League, and is set to launch in Liverpool at the Betfred Super League’s Dacia Magic Weekend event, taking place at Anfield Stadium on 25-26th May 2019.
The programme aims to promote the development of a number of skills, boost their confidence and create positive experiences and opportunities for individuals.
Community Integrated Care are one of Britain’s biggest social care charities, supporting people who have learning disabilities, autism, mental health concerns and dementia.
Mersey Mash spoke to John Hughes, partnership lead for Community Integrated Care. He said: “The learning disability super league is a world first, we’ve created a number of accessible rugby league club that enable people with learning difficulties and autism to play the game that they love.
“12 different rugby league clubs have all created their own teams, and their coaches will give people the chance to participate in the game with some support, they have the chance to train every week, to be players of the club that they love and also be super league players. It’s a world first in the sense that this is the first time that a professional sports league has put it’s brand against a learning disability sports competition.
“People with learning disabilities face a lot of prejudice and discrimination, this programme is giving people the chance to develop talents, make new friends get fit and health and enjoy some special experiences. Sadly, loneliness and isolation is a massive issue and these rugby league clubs are bringing people together. It makes a really big statement about social inclusion. We hope it inspires the public and makes the world a little bit more inclusive.”
The announcement is part of a wider partnership between Community Integrated Care, Super League and the RFL. The charity will be leading the development of a range of programmes that will use Rugby League to transform the lives of people who require care and support.
For the full interview with John Hughes, click here or listen below.
Magic Weekend is being held at Anfield Stadium, on 25-26th May 2019. Tickets and more information can be found here.