A GROUP of people who have learning disabilities enjoyed "life-changing volunteering experiences" with Saints last week.

The Saints fans took on roles ahead of the team’s Super League ‘Inclusion Round’ fixture against Castleford Tigers at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Supported by social care charity Community Integrated Care they participated in several specially designed pre-match experiences, enabling the group - including people with more profound needs - to support the operations of the club that they love and watch every week.

St Helens Women's captain and ambassador of Community Integrated Care, Jodie Cunningham, visited the home of the volunteers at the charity’s ‘Mill Point’ service to surprise and delight volunteers with their dream work experience roles and to request their matchday support.

Their involvement included a workshop with the Saints' first team media lead at the ‘Captain’s Run’ and setting cones out to support the ground staff.

They engaged with fans within stadium concourses prior to kick off and helped the club shop with the likes of Saints stars Alex Walmsley and Konrad Hurrell – it has been described as an “unforgettable experience” by the volunteers.

Volunteers at Saints on Friday eveningVolunteers at Saints on Friday evening (Image: Community Integrated Care)

This was all possible through the charity’s award-winning Inclusive Volunteering programme, synonymous with rugby league since its inception ahead of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, and their long-established partnership with the Saints Community Development Foundation, who facilitated the opportunities.

Following their placements, each volunteer and their support team finished the evening watching Saints from the stands.

Kurtis Marsh, sports inclusion team leader at Community Integrated Care, said “Over the years the people we support have developed brilliant life skills and confidence through the Community Integrated Care Inclusive Volunteering Programme with rugby league.

"We wanted to celebrate all that they have achieved, and we’re delighted to have the support of Saints Community Foundation in activating these special experiences for their Inclusion Round fixture.

"Our charity exists to enable people to live the Best Life Possible, and through our incredible partnership with St Helens and the sport of rugby league, we can make this a reality for so many.

"A huge thank you to all at Saints!”

Ben Hardman, development manager at Saints Community Foundation, said: “It was great to once again work with the team at Community Integrated Care, as we know all about the life changing work that they deliver locally.

"As long-term partners of Saints Community Foundation through programmes like the Learning Disability Super League and the Inclusive Volunteering Programme, we wanted to help facilitate meaningful opportunities for the people they support that also contribute to a greater matchday experience for all.

"Their support of our work in disabled communities makes such an impact. We’d like to thank the volunteers for all their effort and dedication.”

To hear more about Community Integrated Care and their services for people who require care and support in their daily lives, please visit www.CommunityIntegratedCare.co.uk