The Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League was awarded one of the top honours in the care sector last week, celebrating the ground-breaking partnership between Community Integrated Care, The RFL, Super League and rugby league’s charitable foundations.

The project was named ‘The Most Effective Collaborative Approach to Integrated Models of Care’ at the event, which celebrates the most innovative and exceptional contributions by adult social care providers. This category recognises the country’s very best examples of life changing care and support programmes, which are achieved by organisations working together with bold ambitions and shared values.

Skills for Care is one of the most important and respected bodies in the social care sector, as the delivery partner for the Department and Health and Social Care. It has led workforce development and the promotion of innovation within the English care sector for almost two decades.

The award was collected by Warrington Wolves’ Learning Disability Super League coach, Craig Thomason, and his brother – Wolves’ LDSL player, Oliver Thomasson, from Strictly Come Dancing Star and event host, Anton Du Beke. They were joined on stage by people supported by Community Integrated Care and members of the charity’s leadership team.

Leading the Way

The Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League gives people with learning disabilities and autism the chance to live their dreams as rugby league stars, playing a specially adapted version of the sport for the clubs that they love.

The project has been championed by the charitable foundations of Castleford Tigers, Hull KR, Hull FC, Leeds Rhinos, St Helens, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington Wolves, Wigan Warriors, Widnes Vikings and York City Knights. Their incredible efforts are changing lives, promoting the health, happiness and inclusion of almost 200 participants to date.

Judges at the event praised this partnership, commending ‘the level of innovation and reach of the project’ and its impact in enabling people with learning disabilities ‘to achieve the things that they’ve always wanted to do’. They also highlighted the importance of Community Integrated Care’s role as the Social Care Partner of The RFL and Super League.

This award is the latest a series of number of high-profile honours for the project and partnership in recent months. The Learning Disability Super League has recently been named the best Care Innovation at the Great British Care Awards and was given a special honour at the 3rd Sector Care Awards. The RFL and Super League also both jointly collected the Charity Partnership of the Year Award at the North West Charity Awards, celebrating their ground-breaking collaborations with Community Integrated Care.

An Incredible Honour

Oliver Thomason, Warrington Wolves Learning Disability Super League player, says: “It was amazing to represent Warrington Wolves, Community Integrated Care and the Learning Disability Super League at the awards, with my brother, Craig. This is a very special award and I enjoyed everything about being part of the event.

It meant so much to me to represent the project and to visit London for the celebration. We’ve all had an amazing experience being part of the Learning Disability Super League and it is only going to get better! 2020 is going to be a fantastic year.”

Mark Adams, CEO of Community Integrated Care, says: “It is an incredible achievement for the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League to be recognised as the best collaboration in the social care sector by Skills for Care, in just its first season. Skills for Care represents the absolute best of the best in adult social care in England, so this is something for our charity and the entire sport of Rugby League to feel very proud about.

This honour caps a very special time for our organisation, having recently been named as the Charity Times Charity of the Year for our impact and innovation nationally. We can only achieve visionary work by working with visionary people.

Community Integrated Care’s collaboration with The RFL, Super League and the sport’s charitable foundations is truly special. The values, passion and commitment of our partners is inspirational, and we believe that this is only the beginning of what we will be able to achieve together in the future.”