Rugby League was well represented when RFL President and Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, hosted a Disability History Month reception at Speaker’s House in London last week.
UK Disability History Month (16 November to 16 December) creates an annual platform for a focus on the story of disabled peoples’ struggle for equality and human rights in the past, now and what is needed for the future. The Speaker’s House event brought together people from the worlds of politics, entertainment and sport – including guests from Rugby League’s social care partner Community Integrated Care, the RFL, Medway Dragons, Widnes Vikings and Channel 4 in the shape of Rugby League presenter and comedian Adam Hills.
Last Leg presenter Adam Hills said: "When I think back to what disability awareness was when I was 10, it was nothing. Celebrating Disability Awareness month on a night like tonight really shows that, behind everything else that goes on in politics, there is a concern and a care for people with disabilities.
Widnes Vikings Learning Disability Rugby League player, Dylan Bunting, also a valued member of the club’s Community Foundation, added: “To be given the chance to represent the sport that I love on such a national stage is a massive honour for me. Seeing how much attention the sport of Rugby League, the RFL and Widnes Vikings give to make our sport so inclusive makes me proud. It allows me to live my dream of playing for the Vikings. Getting to see what goes on outside our sport within this event shows just how much progress is being made which is so inspiring to see.”
And John Hughes, Director of Partnerships and Communities at Community Integrated Care, said: “As a charity that was founded to challenge the exclusion of disabled people, we understand the importance of Disability History Month in celebrating progress and highlighting how much further society needs to travel.
“It is fitting that we celebrated this event with the RFL. Community Integrated Care’s work with Rugby League has given many people the chance to live their dreams, enjoy personal progress, and find the support that they need. It has challenged prejudice and championed inclusion. It represents the power of communities coming together.”
Also in attendance were Medway Dragons Wheelchair Rugby League player Ben Richardson and RFL inclusion lead Ben Abberstein.