Mark Adams receives the RFL President’s Award from Clare Balding OBE
The Rugby League Council has recognised the role played in the Covid-19 pandemic by Community Integrated Care, the sport’s national social care partner, as its chief executive Mark Adams received the RFL President’s Award from Clare Balding OBE.
The President’s Award was introduced by Andy Burnham in 2018, and is designed to recognise inspiring work to change lives and communities through Rugby League, and achievements by players, coaches and volunteers which bring the sport to new audiences.
Lindsay Anfield received the inaugural Award from Andy Burnham as a trailblazing female coach, and during his Presidency in 2019-20, Tony Adams MBE made two awards: to the Wakefield Trinity and England centre Reece Lyne for his mentoring work with young offenders; and to Dr Gemma Phillips, the Hull KR and England team doctor who has also been the RFL’s Covid lead, for her exceptional efforts in the service of the restart of the sport in 2020.
Clare Balding, who succeeded Tony Adams as RFL President in the summer, explained to Council that the award to Mark Adams and Community Integrated Care has a strong Covid-19 element – although the unique partnership between the sport and the charity has been in existence since 2015.
As Rugby League’s national social care partner, Community Integrated Care’s relationship with the sport extends across developing Rugby League playing opportunities for players with learning difficulties - including the Community Integrated Care Disability Super League - to activity sessions inspired by Rugby League, and with major announcement imminent regarding volunteering opportunities at next year’s World Cup.
The pandemic has put social care in the national spotlight. Community Integrated Care’s colleagues and the people it supports have faced huge challenges including the loss of loved ones. This is the Rugby League community.
Clare Balding said: “I am delighted that Mark Adams is recipient of my first RFL President’s Award. Mark is an inspirational leader and has demonstrated considerable bravery in speaking up for the people Community Integrated Care supports, and for its colleagues throughout this difficult year.
“Mark and the team at the charity also worked with the sport to create online resources – the #ActiveatHome toolkit to help anyone with additional needs - including members of the Rugby League community with autism, learning disabilities or dementia - to keep active this year.
“Rugby League is the only sport with a national social care partner. That is something everyone in the sport can be proud of as we aim to make Rugby League the nation’s most inclusive sport.”
Mark Adams, Chief Executive Officer at Community Integrated Care said: “We are massively proud of our partnership with the RFL and the extended Rugby League family with the Super League, RL Cares and the Rugby League World Cup 2021.
He continued, “We’re a charity that was founded with northern roots and we are proud to be the biggest care provider in Rugby League’s heartlands. For many in those communities it’s been a horrendous year, but we have been amazingly well supported by our friends in Rugby League, whether in the distribution of millions of items of PPE, or in the delivery of virtual fitness classes. We have also strived to continue to play our part in supporting inclusion and opportunity through this great sport. It’s wonderful to receive this award from Clare Balding, and on behalf of all at our charity, thank you.”