York's LDRL team are set to take part in The Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League (LDSL) which returns this Saturday (Saturday 23 September) for it's biggest-ever season finale festival of 2023.
The York LDRL players will join around 400 players from 16 other Club Foundations to take to the pitch at the Belle Vue Stadium, Manchester.
The season finale festival marks an unparalleled season with a record breaking number of participants taking part in the LDSL, including a memorable play-on-pitch experience at St James’ Park for Magic Weekend back in July.
Organised by the RFL in association with Community Integrated Care, one of the UK’s biggest social care charities and title sponsor of the Learning Disability Super League, the festival kicks off at 11am this Saturday, welcoming teams from all over the country for a spectacular sporting trip and celebration of the achievements for all involved this past year.
The growth of the sport can be traced back to 2018, when the Rugby Football League and Super League allied with Community Integrated Care to become the first governing body and top flight league with a dedicated Social Care Partner.
Community Integrated Care supports more than 3,000 people who have learning disabilities, autism, mental health concerns, dementia and complex care needs to lead the best life possible.
With a shared vision of using the power of Rugby League to change lives, this unique sport was established to give people who access care and support in their daily lives the chance to play an adapted non-competitive version of the game for the clubs that they love, through the LDSL.
Bringing significant investment, resources, and skills to support the sport’s disability inclusion efforts, this collaboration has provided a range of innovative inclusive volunteering and personal development programmes for participants to access, led by the charity, making a significant difference to people’s lives, both on and off the field.
With free entry and parking on site, fans are encouraged to attend and show their support for the players and coaches.
Mark Prangnell, Community Coach at York RLFC Foundation reflects on the season:
"Another fantastic Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League season coming to an end.
"We have had a number of new players join us this season here at York to add to our existing participants."
"We have had the pleasure of taking part in a number of festivals across the region, as well as hosting our own festival as part of the clubs Inclusivity Day at the LNER Community Stadium.
"The highlight of the season has to be our players playing on the pitch at St James' Park for Magic Weekend.
"An epic event that everyone loved taking part in and being able to show case their talents to the thousands watching. In fact they loved it that much it was hard to get them back off the pitch!
Phil Kelly, York RLFC's Foundation's player-coach said;
"I'm a player for the LDRL team which means just how far I've come with the club and to be a coach too just made it for me.
"The first time I hear about tag rugby league was when Neil visited Snappy and when I first held that rugby ball I just wanted to play."
"I never thought about awards, trophies or medals I just wanted to play the sport that everyone can join in with whether it's wheelchair, LDRL, PDRL, Womens, Men, we can all enjoy the game no matter what.
"It's been a privilege to have been involved with the Learning Disability team here at York this season, and the impact this programme has on our players is there to see.
"They have made friends not only with their own team mates but with players from across the other participating Foundations, all coming together as one for the love of the sport."
For more information on York's LDRL team and how you can become involved head to yorkrlfc.com/foundation.
The Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League Venue and Timings
Belle Vue Arena, 148 Kirkmanshulme Lane, Manchester, M12 4WB.
Parking available on site and a concession stand open till 3pm.