People with autism or learning disabilities have the chance to create rugby league history, by designing St.Helens R.F.C’s 2020 Dacia Magic Weekend kit.
The reigning Betfred Super League champions have teamed up with local charity, St Helens Autism Support, and the leading national social care charity, Community Integrated Care, to deliver this unique project.
This inclusive initiative reflects a long-term commitment by Saints to use the Betfred Super League’s Dacia Magic Weekend event as a platform for raising awareness and funds to change the lives of people affected by autism.
This competition will give someone the honour of leading the design of Saints’ shirt for the St James’ Park tie, where they will compete against their 2019 Grand Final opponents, Salford Red Devils.
Special activity packs are being distributed this week across the care sector, to local special education schools and to community groups by Community Integrated Care.
They can also be downloaded and printed from the Community Integrated Care website. Entries close on Thursday, March 5.
Using these packs, people can draw their dream kit for the event and submit it for entry. The winning shirt will be judged in the coming weeks by a panel of St.Helens R.F.C icons and representatives, and people supported and employed by Community Integrated Care.
One lucky winner will not only see their design developed by the renowned rugby league apparel designers, O’Neill’s but also receive an exclusive VIP Saints experience.
Entrants are encouraged to get creative in their designs. Whilst the Club is open to any creations, the activity packs offer some inspiration which may help participants form their ideas.
Potential themes may include the history, branding, players, supporters and colours of St Helens. R.F.C, the town and landmarks of St Helens, inclusion and community, and the Community Integrated Care Learning Disability Super League.
The shirt will be released for sale ahead of Dacia Magic Weekend, raising funds for vital support and projects for local families and individuals who are affected by autism.
Mike Rush, Saints CEO and Trustee of St Helens Autism Support said: “Since our very first autism awareness kit was launched in 2016, the Saints supporters have shown incredible passion for this cause. We believe that this will be our most exciting and creative shirt yet.
“We’re keen to encourage local people and community groups who can benefit from this project to get involved.
“We’re not necessarily looking to find the best artist, but someone whose design will inspire our players and our fanbase. The lucky winner will be creating a piece of history by designing the shirt and will receive a very special surprise to reward their efforts.”
Sam Brennan, Managing Director of Community Integrated Care, said: “For such a historic and world-famous club as St Helens to open an opportunity like this to people who have care and support needs is unheard of. As the biggest care provider in the local community, we know what this will mean to participants.
“Having partnered with the club for more than four seasons, delivering inclusive projects and the Learning Disability Super League with Saints’ Charitable Foundation, we know that this typifies the values of the club.
“Community Integrated Care is incredibly proud to be leading the delivery of this project. We are looking forward to seeing someone’s design dreams come true.”
James Roby, St. Helens captain, said: “The Saints players are always very proud to have the opportunity to help raise awareness of autism with our Magic Weekend shirts.
“This season it will be even more inspirational taking to the field wearing a shirt that someone has specially designed for us. We hope that lots of people have fun getting involved in this brilliant competition. We can’t wait to see the winning entry!”
For more information or support, please email Community Integrated Care at: firstname.lastname@example.org