The Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League returns in Warrington this Sunday, with a Festival involving 22 teams from 14 different Foundations, including the Hull FC Community Foundation.
The Learning Disability Super League was launched in partnership with Community Integrated Care, one of the UK’s largest and most successful social care charities, in 2019. The project was memorably launched at Betfred Super League’s Magic Weekend at Anfield later that year, and has gone on to give more than 250 players countless incredible opportunities in Rugby League – and Super League recently confirmed a strong LDSL presence at the 2022 Magic Weekend at St James’s Park in Newcastle in July.
Community Integrated Care have also developed a ground-breaking social inclusion partnership with Rugby League World Cup 2021, which has seen more than 350 people access personal development, mentoring and volunteering opportunities inspired by the tournament. This partnership was named as the Best Community Scheme at the prestigious Sports Business Awards 2021.
Now all are relishing the resumption of the Community Integrated Care LDSL after two Covid-affected years, with the Victoria Park facility – which has benefited from CreatedBy RLWC2021 funding – hosting the biggest festival yet.
The Foundations of five Betfred Championship clubs – Barrow Raiders, Featherstone Rovers, Leigh Centurions, Widnes Vikings and York City Knights – will join the Betfred Super League clubs Castleford Tigers, Hull FC, Hull KR, Leeds Rhinos, Salford Red Devils, St Helens, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors.
Three more Championship clubs – Halifax Panthers, Newcastle Thunder and Sheffield Eagles – will also be getting involved as the season develops.
Chris Godfrey, the RFL’s Social and Inclusion Manager, said: “The 2022 season feels like a fresh start for the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League. And with the continued growth we have seen and more participants than ever before there is a lot to be excited about! More teams means bigger events, festivals and more life changing experiences for all involved with particular excitement about our return to the Magic Weekend and all that will bring with it.
“Last year was fantastic and we saw growth through a global pandemic, which is a testament to the work Rugby League’s community foundations did and continue to do. As well as this we were able to tap into expert guidance from our partners in Community Integrated Care to ensure the participants’ safety was at the fore through such a challenging time. That said, the season was impacted by Covid 19 in that we saw a slow, gradual return to play. This year we can go big from the first event and bring everyone together, and with 22 teams from 14 foundations we can say this is the biggest LDSL event to date.”
Bradley Sugden, who is one of the coaches for Hull FC’s LDSL outfit, said: “All of the players are really excited to travel over to Warrington and take part in the first event of the year.
“The last couple of years have been hard because playing opportunities have been strictly limited, but we had a couple of mini-festivals in 2021, which were great for the players.”
The action starts at Victoria Park from midday on Sunday.
Learning Disability Rugby League is a tailored non-competitive game, which focuses on encouraging participation and skills development.