How Super League are offering life-changing volunteering roles

Super League has marked two rounds celebrating its partnership with charity Community Integrated Care by providing unique volunteering opportunities for people with learning disabilities and autism.

Clubs from across the competition have been highlighting the positives of their Learning Disability Super League teams. It follows the recent Disability Rugby League Dividend report which measured the incredible impact that the partnership has had, generating £1.2 million social return on investment in its communities.

In addition to that, members of Community Integrated Care’s media club recently attended the Wigan versus Warrington game, performing exclusive matchday roles as photographers, media officers and journalists at the match and interviewing the coaches of both teams.

Warrington-based trio Matt Price, Dylan Prinsep and Katie Richardson all took part in the volunteering, which aims to improve employability skills and offer opportunities for those taking part, helping them to realise their potential.

Price said: “I got to work as a matchday photographer and to do some media work, as well as being in the official press zones.

“Katie and I went around the stadium and pitch-side with Wigan’s photographer Bernard Platt, who showed us the ropes, how to get good action shots, and how to capture the crowd when somebody scores a try. 

“He gave me some good advice and said that I’d taken a couple of good photos, which was really cool.

“I got to sit in the press box and then interview Matt Peet in the press conference after the game. I had to prepare a question and then ask it, and he was lovely with his responses.”

Richardson said: “It feels unreal. It’s hard to believe that someone like me gets the chance to do stuff like this. 

“I got to take pictures of the heroes I like, watch the team I support and hear the roar from the fans. It was all amazing. 

“Community Integrated Care has helped me improve my passion for photography, which will help me in the future. 

“It’s helped me achieve little goals I didn’t think I could do. I can’t wait to do more in the future.”

Prinsep is a keen presenter and videographer who has his own YouTube channel, styled Planet Dylan, and relished the chance to use his skills in a professional environment. 

“With me wanting to work in the media and do presenting, I got the chance to interview Daryl Powell and the Wigan coach Matt Peet,” Prinsep explained. 

“I also got the chance to go behind the scenes in the press box, learn how they do live Twitter posts and spent time in other media zones.

“I loved it; it was really great. I really felt in my comfort zone doing it and I’m grateful to Community Integrated Care for giving me that opportunity. 

“I’m a Warrington fan; I live in Warrington, was born here and support the Wolves. Getting to the chance to interview Daryl Powell was a big moment for me and I loved that. 

“I stayed for the press conference and got the chance to ask a question, and it was great hearing what the coach’s opinion on the game was.”

All three have featured for the Wolves’ LDSL team that recently played at St James’ Park during Magic Weekend. 

Price added: “Playing in the Learning Disability Super League is amazing. 

“It’s a game I’d not be able to play unless there was this format – I wouldn’t be able to cope in a full-contact team. 

“This gives me the chance to play and to represent the team I support as well.”

John Hughes, the director of partnerships and communities at Community Integrated Care says that the inclusive volunteering programme illustrates how the partnership with Rugby League extends beyond the Learning Disability Super League.

Hughes said: “We’re keen that what we do with the sport is not just about playing. 

“If we only focus on playing then all we’re doing is giving people a nice half-hour every so often. 

“What we’re really interested in is how to make a material difference to people’s lives.

“So as well as the opportunity to play Rugby League through our partnerships with Super League and the RFL, we’re also able to help people access education, volunteering and mentoring – and that has been amazing. 

“Over the past year we’ve had 350 people who’ve volunteered with the sport, 5,000 hours of people absolutely living their dreams. 

“People that are part of the photography club have now developed skills for life. 

“For us it’s not just about Rugby League, it’s what Rugby League can do to change people’s lives and help them fulfil their potential.”

Pictured top (L-R): Katie Richardson, Matt Price and Dylan Prinsep

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.