Alex Gerrard Widnes VikingsMembers of rugby league side Widnes Vikings opened a special Vikings-themed room in a care home that supports people with complex learning disabilities to mark Learning Disability Week last week. 

Star player Alex Gerrard (pictured) and representatives of the club visited Glenwood Care Home in Widnes to celebrate a major refurbishment of the home and officially open a Widnes Vikings themed room, which celebrates the history of the club.

Glenwood is home to 8 people who have complex learning disabilities and also offers short-term respite support to 5 people. It is run by Community Integrated Care, a Widnes-based social care charity that has formed a long-term partnership with Widnes Vikings, promoting the health, wellbeing, happiness and inclusion of people supported by the charity, their colleagues and members of the local community. 

Many of the people supported at the home and their support staff are Vikings fans, so they chose to create this themed area to celebrate their shared passion as part of the refurbishment. People supported at Glenwood often go to Vikings games, and also participate in weekly sports and activity sessions with the Vikings as part of the partnership with the club. 

The Vikings-themed room brings together photographs of club legends, such as Frank Myler, Kurt Sorensen and Martin Offiah, as well as the home’s favourite players from the current team. It also includes a host of Vikings memorabilia, including a signed shirt donated by the team. The room was developed with the support of Widnes Vikings, the Widnes RL Museum, and the Liverpool Echo and Weekly News, who all generously donated photographs from their archives.

The themed room is just one element of a significant refurbishment of the home, which makes it a more comfortable and friendly place to live, and supports more person-centred care. 

Karen Hayes, service leader for Glenwood, said: “We were thrilled that Alex Gerrard and Widnes Vikings came down to help celebrate our new refurbishment and Learning Disability Week. Our Vikings themed room is a stunning space that puts big smiles on the faces of the people we support and our colleagues, who love the club. We are so grateful to the Vikings, their museum, the Liverpool Echo and Weekly News for their support in creating this space.” 

Gerrard added: “It was a real honour to be invited down to open the Vikings room in Glenwood and meet the people supported at the home and the staff. The room looks stunning and shows how much the club means to the local community. It's always great to meet the fans, and see how passionate they are. The people who live here come and support me and the team all the time, so it's great that I could come here today to support them in return.”

Richard Munson, community integrated director at Widnes Vikings, said: “Being here for the first time today took my breath away, seeing the heritage of the club showcased on the walls at Glenwood. At Widnes Vikings we are proud to have an important role in the local community, and our partnership with Community Integrated Care supports this. We are really proud to have supported this project and celebrated Learning Disability Week with Community Integrated Care.”