Learning Disability Super League coaches access innovative training day

1 Jun 2022

Learning Disability Super League coaches access innovative training day

Coaches working for Rugby League’s charitable foundations accessed an innovative training day to support their delivery of the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League. 

Representatives of the 17 clubs participating in the programme enjoyed a packed professional development day, led by Community Integrated Care in partnership with the Rugby Football League (RFL). Offering education from the charity’s specialists in learning disability and autism support, access an autism experience simulator, and opportunities to learn from the lived experiences of LDSL players, the event powerfully supported coaches ahead of the biggest season yet of the ground-breaking programme.  

Community Integrated Care is one of the UK’s biggest and most successful social care charities. It is proudly the Official Social Care Partner of the RFL, Super League and the Rugby League World Cup 2021.

It partnered with the sport in 2019 to help lead the creation of the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League. This world-first Programme enables people who have learning disabilities and autism to play a specially adapted version of Rugby League for the clubs that they love, in a non-competitive and inclusive environment. 
 
The CPD day saw Community Integrated Care’s Autism Specialist Practitioner, Denise Kennedy, support coaches to understand methods to better connect with and empower the independence of their players. This was supported by Craig Thomason, Partnerships and Communities Manager for the charity, delivering a workshop that supported coaches to identify ways to create a person-centred and inclusive team culture, in which every player can thrive. 
 
The training day powerfully mixed technical learning with hands-on practice. This included coaches utilising an autism experience simulator, which helped them to better appreciate the sensory needs that some players might have. It also saw players from the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League’s become trainers too, as their put their coaching teams through their paces in a series of drills designed to support coaches to discover new ways to empower and support their players on the field and adapt the game to make it accessible to all. 
 
The day was attended by coaches of Barrow Raiders, Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers, Halifax Panthers, Hull FC, Hull KR, Leeds Rhinos, Leigh Centurions, Newcastle Thunder, Salford Red Devils, Sheffield Eagles, St Helens, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington Wolves, Widnes Vikings, Wigan Warriors, and York City Knights.


 Craig Thomason, Partnerships and Communities Manager at Community Integrated Care, says: “We take our role as Rugby League’s Official Social Care Partner and collaborators in the Learning Disability Super League very seriously. We are committed to sharing our skills and resources to support the LDSL to get better every year and to develop the talents within Rugby League. By doing so, we can continually improve the impact that our charity and this sport has on people’s lives.
 
"This training day was truly inspirational. Through bringing together quality training, innovative technologies, and the lived-experience and insight of players, along with the passion and knowledge of every coach in the room, coaches left the day filled with new ideas and enthusiasm for the season ahead. We’d like to thank the RFL and every participating foundation for their support in developing the best programme possible.”
 
Warrington Wolves Foundation coach Oli Murphy was among those that attended the event and took part in the Autism Experience simulator. He said: “It was a real eye-opener and allowed me to understand how completely different everyone’s experience is on the autism spectrum. There were times where we had different experiences to each other in there. This showed how every player’s experience is individualised, so our coaching and delivery must be too. 
 
"It was great to be able to bounce ideas off other coaches and to discover the best ways to deliver the sport, which will provide a better culture for all of us moving forwards. I’m grateful to Community Integrated Care and the RFL for developing such a special day and investing in the talents of coaches."


 
Chris Godfrey, Social Inclusion Manager at RFL, says: The partnership between the RFL and Community Integrated Care has been significant for us as a sports national governing body. It has ensured effective working methods have been employed by all involved through expert training, provided by Community Integrated Care, enabling coaches to better understand participants with Learning Disabilities, Autism and Associated Conditions.
 
"In turn this has maximised the impact the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League has had on its participants meaning that whilst both parties have benefited through the existing partnership, and most importantly, the participants in Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League have had the best experiences, many memorable moments and life changing opportunities. We look forward to the continued working partnership and development of Learning Disability Rugby League.”