RFL looks to increase disability participation in Rugby League
The RFL is to increase disability participation within Rugby League by promoting a series of ground-breaking initiatives.
The initiatives include the development of comprehensive online guidance, disability access audits of Kingstone Press Championship clubs and disability awareness training for Championships club staff.
The governing body is keen to promote the inclusion of disabled people within Rugby League and has worked in conjunction with national disability sports organisations across the country to provide a comprehensive online guide of all available options.
Included in the guidance is information and support regarding the following: mobility, blind and partially sighted, deaf and hard of hearing, learning disabilities, learning needs and mental health, as well as long-term health conditions, including: asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, cancer and sickle cell.
There is also information regarding the adaption of playing and coaching for disabled participants, and a Rugby League Case Study, all available to view for free.
RFL Equality and Diversity Manager Sarah Williams MBE, who compiled the guidance, said: “I have been overwhelmed by the support and time that organisations have given to ensuring that the information is up to date. The guidance offers Rugby League-specific content as well as generic information.
“Most importantly, in compiling the case studies, I have been privileged to meet and talk to some inspiring people and clubs who have worked together to ensure that individual disabled people have the chance to achieve their full potential and be a part of the wider Rugby League family.”
English Foundation for Disability Sport Chief Executive Barry Horne said: “EFDS strongly believes that sports clubs play a key role in ensuring disabled people are active for life.
“It is fantastic to see the RFL develop this specific resource to support their clubs to develop inclusive environments, enabling disabled people to access their sport however they choose, whether as a player, coach, volunteer or spectator.”
Also, in partnership with Level Playing Field, the RFL Facilities Trust has begun a programme of disability access audits of all Kingstone Press Championship clubs, with a view for the audit to be completed by the end of the 2014 season.
To support this work the RFL is delivering disability awareness training to club staff so they have the skills and confidence to meet the needs of disabled people whilst taking an active role in creating an inclusive and welcoming environment, as well as a proactive and creative approach to overcoming the challenges of older stadia.
Level Playing Field Chairperson Joyce Cook said: “We value our close relationship with the RFL and Facilities Trust and are pleased to be working together to improve stadium access and match day inclusion for disabled rugby fans.
“We are also delighted that the RFL has chosen to launch its new disability awareness online service to coincide with this year’s Level Playing Field weeks of action.
“Awareness goes a long way towards breaking down the barriers many disabled people still face and the new online pages will provide a useful resource for all. Congratulations and many thanks to everyone who has been involved. It is a pleasure to work with the RFL.”
If your club has worked to support or include disabled people or groups please let us know by contacting [email protected] so that examples of good practice can be shared across and beyond the Rugby League community.