Widnes Vikings and CICRugby League side Widnes Vikings and social care charity Community Integrated Care have launched a partnership to deliver a long-term programme that promotes the health, wellbeing and happiness of people supported by the charity, its colleagues and the wider local community.

This partnership will promote the wellbeing of colleagues of and people supported by the charity, hosting a number of weekly healthy living and sports sessions for them. These sessions will be delivered by professional coaches, and will also feature appearances from the club’s star players. 

Community Integrated Care supports more than 5,000 people across England and Scotland who have learning disabilities, mental health concerns, autism, and age-related needs, such as dementia. The charity was founded in Widnes in 1988 and remains the biggest social care provider in Halton. 

Widnes Vikings are one of the most successful Super League rugby clubs. Formed in 1875, the club has a proud history of winning top honours in the sport and remains a mainstay of rugby league’s elite league. The club has been nationally praised for its successful community engagement work.

The club will also deliver weekly activity and reminiscence sessions in Community Integrated Care’s specialist dementia care homes. In addition, the club will deliver Dementia Friends and disability awareness training to every staff member, including the first team. The club is also creating voluntary positions for people with care and support needs, and will be encouraging its local partners to back this social inclusion effort. 

Additionally, the organisations have committed to working together to make a difference in the wider community. They will be hosting a monthly ‘Chemics Cafe’, which will provide advice and support to people affected by dementia, as well as offer opportunities to socialise and reminisce about the game with legendary players. They will also be enabling people who access care and support services to follow their passion for the game. 

John Hughes, head of communications and marketing for Community Integrated Care, said: “Community Integrated Care and Widnes Vikings are two leading organisations that were formed in Halton and are at the heart of the local community. As the biggest care provider in the area and one of the borough’s biggest employers, we believe that this partnership has the potential to make an unparallelled social impact. We are thrilled that Widnes Vikings share our ambitions to deliver a programme that transforms lives. We believe that this is a sector leading partnership, and thank the club for their passion, ambition and commitment.”

Denis Betts, head coach of Widnes Vikings, added: “On behalf of all at Widnes Vikings, I would like to welcome staff and people supported by Community Integrated Care into the Vikings Family. As a club we love to engage with our community, and through this innovative partnership, the team and I look forward to seeing the projects in action and meeting all the participants.”

Caption: Patrick Ah Van and Lloyd White, Widnes Vikings players, with Sophie Evans, who is supported by Community Integrated Care, and Kelly Pearson, support worker.