Two leading rugby league bodies have partnered with the national social care charity Community Integrated Care to form a groundbreaking inclusive sports programme for people with learning disabilities and autism.
The ‘Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League’ will give people with learning disabilities the opportunity to play an adapted version of the game in a series of high-profile festivals and events officially supported by Super League (Europe) and the Rugby Football League (RFL).
The programme aims to promote the development of skills, confidence and positive experiences for people with learning disabilities, and is being supported by 12 founder clubs: Castleford Tigers, Huddersfield Giants, Hull KR, Leeds Rhinos, Newcastle Thunder, Salford Red Devils, St Helens, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington Wolves, Widnes Vikings, Wigan Warriors and York City Knights.
To support the programme, which will launch at Super League’s ‘Magic Weekend’ at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool on May 25-26, Community Integrated Care is providing specialist training to all participating clubs, as well as direct investment into the sport.
Robert Elstone, CEO of Super League, said: “I would like to thank Community Integrated Care for presenting this groundbreaking opportunity to Super League.
“As the official social care partner of the sport, 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.
“Our clubs sit at the heart of proud communities and bring people together every day of the year. The Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League will widen that reach and amplify these special qualities.”
Community Integrated Care is one of Britain’s biggest social care charities, supporting over 3500 people who have learning disabilities, autism, mental health concerns and dementia across England and Scotland.
RFL Chief Executive Ralph Rimmer said: “As a governing body we are extremely proud of our work in developing both physical disability and learning disability rugby league over the past 12 months.
“The work the club foundations have done in giving players with a learning disability the chance to experience rugby league has been first class and we look forward to working with Super League, club foundations and Community Integrated Care to continue to deliver some unprecedented playing opportunities.”