Rugby League


22 Nov 2023

Inspiring podcast celebrates lives changed through Rugby League

Inspiring podcast celebrates lives changed through Rugby League

An inspirational podcast series that follows people who access care and support achieving their dreams through the Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021), and the ongoing impact of their support from the social care charity Community Integrated Care has been launched today.

In three triumphant episodes, the new series ‘A World Of Inclusion – Life changing adventures in rugby league’ explores how the Rugby League community came together with the charity to create hope and opportunity for people who draw on social care. With powerful stories celebrating people who access care and support overcoming adversity to fulfil their ambitions through the sport.

The podcast, which is now available on all major podcast outlets, is led by presenter, Ross Fiddes. It follows the journey of people supported by Community Integrated Care’s groundbreaking RLWC2021 Inclusive Volunteering Programme, which has been described as ‘unbelievable’ by England Rugby League captain, Jodie Cunningham, and ‘life-changing’ by many participants.

The podcast is packed with heartwarming and surprising stories of people living their best life possible. From hearing the joy of players stepping out onto the pitch at St James’ Park to play at Magic Weekend in the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League, to being with Oliver as he helped to close the London Stock Exchange to mark the upcoming tournament, every episode is filled with remarkable stories.

Community Integrated Care’s Inclusive Volunteering Programme gave people who access care and support in tournament communities the opportunity to enjoy specialist mentoring and access to projects that supported their personal goals and dreams. With the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of volunteering at the event, the programme offered a remarkable platform for people to explore their talents and build a more independent life. 

Listeners will enjoy hearing the many ways that the volunteers contributed to delivering the most inclusive and impactful Rugby League World Cup event ever. From a young person with autism creating a rugby league anthem with a leading hip hop producer, to people who have complex learning disabilities teaching the England Women’s Team how to make soap as a team-building activity, unseen and overlooked talents were unlocked and celebrated in incredible ways. 

Community Integrated Care are the official social care partners of the Rugby Football League, delivering 10 million hours of care annually to people with learning disabilities, autism, mental health concerns, brain injuries, dementia, and complex care needs.

England Rugby League captain and RLWC2021 Women’s Ambassador Jodie Cunningham features on the podcast, having closely supported the volunteers in her work as a Social Impact lead for the event. She praised the programme, saying; 

“It’s been incredible to be part of this remarkable programme, to meet and work so closely with the volunteers and team at Community Integrated Care and witness the firsthand their inspiring journeys.

There were so many unbelievable moments. This podcast is a joy to listen to, and it brings back so many wonderful memories for me personally, and will no doubt inspire and bring happiness to fans across rugby league.”

Kenzie Appleton, RLWC2021 Inclusive Volunteer, is one of the participants featured in the podcast. He said;

“I’m really proud to share my story, and hope people take the time to listen to hear how being part of this programme has truly changed my life.

I’ve played for the team I adore (St Helens) at St James Park through the Learning Disability Super League, scoring a try in front of thousands of fans. I’ve been part of official rugby league press conferences and met players like England Rugby League captain, George Williams.

I found my passion for photography and have since gone on to study the topic at college, to help me to achieve my dreams of becoming a photographer! These stories are unique, and I hope people enjoy listening to them.”

Ross Fiddes, Rugby League Presenter who leads the podcast, says;

“I’d urge anyone to spend a few moments of their day to listen to each episode. Brimming with uplifting, positive stories, I guarantee listeners will be beaming with pride for the volunteers and all that they have accomplished.”

Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, John Hughes, says; 

“A year on since the Tournament finals, it’s fitting that we can now listen to and celebrate this truly amazing sport, and the platform it enables for people with learning disabilities to share their talents on the biggest stages and find and fulfil their potential.

Following their journey every step of the way - from experiencing personal challenges through to realising unforgettable achievements, such as showcasing their work to the Princess of Wales and 10 Downing Street, the series brings to life the remarkable progress of the participants. A true legacy of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, this story continues.”

All three episodes from ‘A World Of Inclusion – Life changing adventures in Rugby League’ are available now for listening on SpotifyApple Music and Amazon Music.