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Challenge Cup Excitement Reaches Fever Pitch in Atherton

Excitement for Saturday’s rugby clash between Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves is reaching fever pitch at Belong Atherton care village this week, as the dementia specialist welcomed Warriors representatives to record a personal message for its sporting heroes whilst enjoying a special preview of the club’s recent trio of silverware wins.


With the town gearing up for the Challenge Cup final showdown, some of the Cherry and Whites’ biggest fans relished getting to meet the trophies as the incumbent holders of the League Leaders’ Shield, Super League, and World Club Challenge.



The visit from the club’s Community Foundation saw residents and apartment tenants finding out more about Warriors life, asking questions and sharing happy memories from years gone by. Later, they recorded a good luck message for the players as part of a wider video of well wishes featuring local people.


Kim Calland, experience coordinator at Belong Atherton, provides more detail: “We are huge rugby fans here and I daresay we have some of the most dedicated supporters of local teams, and so for our customers, it really is a dream come true.


“A number of them are living with dementia and were engaged with Jack and Tyler from the club, talking shop and getting an insight into what the team’s training looks like for Saturday’s game – even our Leigh Leopards and Salford Red Devils fans came for a look, and they loved it!”



Speaking of the experience, resident Dorothy, 81, said: “I loved meeting the boys and was so happy to see the trophies. My husband played for Tyldesley Rugby Club back in the day, and it reminded me of this time.”


Resident and Salford Red Devils fan, Wilf, 81, added: “It was lovely to chat rugby and be able to see a winner’s trophy (we’re not used to seeing too many of them!). This weekend, I’ll be rooting for Wigan.”


Members of the Belong community are familiar faces at home ground The Brick Community Stadium, often supported to attend matches by the village’s home care service, Belong at Home. With the upcoming game being held at London’s Wembley Stadium, Belong Atherton will instead be cheering their team on in their entertainment venue with licensed bar. Families of its customers and colleagues have also been invited to watch what will be the teams’ first meeting in the competition final in over 30 years.


Jack Corless, disability inclusion officer at Wigan Warriors Community Foundation, commented: “It was a fantastic opportunity to meet Belong Atherton’s customers, make their week and bring a smile to their faces. As a club, community engagement is really important to us, and we’re pleased to meet with as many of our fans as possible.”


The happy news comes ahead of Carers Week (10 – 16 June) with Belong Atherton highlighting its offer of a complimentary ‘taster session’ of its Experience Days daycare service, offering respite care for those living with dementia and a helping hand for unpaid carers within the community.

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