The Never Watch Alone Initiative (NWAI) was launched in January 2009. This unique initiative was launched in partnership with the National Association of Disabled Supporters and Wigan Learning Disability Partnership Board and enables supports with a learning disability to attend matches alongside their fellow supporters.
Through a network of buddies, the Never Watch Alone Initiative enables those supporters with a learning disability to go to games, not with a professional carer, but a friend, a likeminded fan who shares their passion as well as the camaraderie and socialising before and after the game.
Fans of the Warriors are welcome to sign up as buddies to the Never Watch Alone Initiative. Buddies don't need experience; ongoing guidance, support and responsibility will be handled by the professionals overseeing the Initiative. Being a least 18 years old and having a genuine passion for their sport is all that's required.
The Initiative has received support from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Andy Burnham MP who said:
"A shared passion for sport unites people from all backgrounds and this is what the Never Watch Alone Initiative is all about. It is a fantastic initiative and I commend Wigan Learning Disability Partnership Board, the National Association of Disabled Supporters and Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club for coming together to take this forward. I am sure it will prove a fulfilling experience for everyone involved and will bring about many lasting friendships."
In March 2010, ex Wigan and Great Britain Rugby League star and now Sky Sports Pundit Phil Clarke was unveiled as the Ambassador to the Never Watch Alone Initiative (NWAI) in Wigan.
Phil, who made 154 appearances for Wigan and has represented Great Britain and England on 22 occasions, has put his weight behind the scheme which aims to make Super League Rugby accessible to people with learning disabilities.
"The real life soap opera of supporting your team is best experienced when you're not alone, and in the company of like minded fans and supporters. The greatest memories of following a team only reach their peak when they are shared with people close to you," said Clarke.
The ultimate aim is to enable people with learning disabilities to lead full, purposeful lives in their communities and to develop a range of friendships, activities and relationships.
Anyone who is interested in becoming a buddy and would like a registration form, or to find out more about the Never Watch Alone Initiative, contact Michelle Ryan, the Never Watch Alone Initiative co-ordinators on (01942) 513053, by e-mail or an online registration form is also available by [clicking here].
In 2011 Sky Sports featured the never watch alone scheme. To view this video [click here].