Many more disabled people have come forward to describe how the healthcare professionals who assessed them for the government’s new disability benefit lied in the reports they compiled.Their evidence further confirms the results of a two-month Disability News Service (DNS) investigation, which revealed last week how assessors working for the outsourcing companies Capita and Atos – most of them nurses – had repeatedly lied, ignored written evidence, and dishonestly reported the results of physical examinations.Having read last week’s articles, more personal independence payment (PIP) claimants have come forward with their own evidence of dishonest assessors.One PIP claimant, David*, who has impairments including ME, fibromyalgia and a heart condition, has described how his disability living allowance (DLA) award of the higher rates for both care and mobility was lost after his PIP assessment left him with zero points (a claimant needs eight for the PIP standard rate and 12 for the enhanced rate).He remembers his assessor telling him when she arrived at his home and he asked if she knew anything about ME and fibromyalgia: “I’ve dealt with a couple of people with yuppy flu before.”He said: “When I received the assessor’s report I thought it was for another person as it contained so many omissions, inaccuracies and conjecture. There was also several instances of fabrication.”Information from his previous applications for incapacity benefit, DLA and employment and support allowance (ESA), and his successful appeal decisions for DLA and ESA at tribunal, had been omitted from her report.David told DNS: “The report states I carried out tiptoe and ‘balancing on each foot’ tests and had no problems walking. I did not walk a step and did not carry out the tests described.“The report states that I turned around in my chair and picked up a bottle of medicine from the surface behind me – the surface behind me was an oven hob and all my medication was on the table in front of the assessor.”When he described how his medication had sent him to sleep in his back yard, the assessor claimed that he said instead: “I wonder [sic] round the fields outside my house,” while being able to open a ring-pull can was interpreted as “able to prepare a meal”.He is appealing the decision, and is complaining about his assessor to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.David said: “Since receiving the report, the consequences of dealing with the complaints procedure and making another tribunal appeal have been a noticeable deterioration in my health and have put a strain on both my wife’s and my own mental health (loss of peace of mind, anxiety, knocks to self-confidence and a feeling of being discriminated against because of the nature of my disability).”Rachel*, a former mental health nurse, requested a copy of her assessment report after she was awarded zero points by DWP, following a PIP assessment by an Atos nurse in the Brighton assessment centre, when she had previously been claiming middle rate care and lower rate mobility under DLA.She said: “In the report, I found details about a physical examination that was allegedly performed. It ran to one side of A4 paper.“No examination ever happened; the report is a complete fabrication.”She is now appealing, and is hoping to lodge a complaint about the nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.Julie*, who has both a physical and mental health condition, said she had been claiming the highest rate for both care and mobility under DLA, but as a result of a dishonest Atos assessment report by a nurse was granted only the standard rate of both daily living and mobility for PIP, and lost her Motability vehicle in January 2016.After she requested a review of her case in November, she was assessed again – by another nurse – and again received a dishonest report.The whole process, she said, had been “humiliating and degrading”.In both reports, the nurse said Julie had refused a physical assessment, which she said was not true on either occasion, and was witnessed by a third party both times.She said: “When it came to care, she ignored a lot of what was said, just picking out the fact I could shower but didn’t mention that my husband has to help me, the same with cooking and taking medication. “Even though my husband does all that and leaves me my lunch and phones me to remind me to take medication.”Another claimant, Sandra*, said that the nurse who assessed her wrote in her report that she had no suicidal thoughts, even though Sandra had shown her copies of police incident reports written after her friends had expressed concerns for her safety.The nurse also wrote that Sandra was in a “good mood and often smiling”, even though she had told her that her second dad had just died and she had spent a sleepless night crying.The nurse wrote that Sandra can “manage medication/therapy unaided”, even though her flatmate helps her fill her tablets box and then hides the rest of the medication in his room to avoid her using it to overdose, as she has done previously.Sandra had previously received the PIP enhanced rate for daily living, but as a result of the assessment report, received zero points and so lost her entitlement to £330 every four weeks.She is now waiting for a tribunal to appeal that decision.As a result of the problems this has caused, she has started to hear voices for the first time, and has been referred for urgent psychological treatment.She cannot use public transport because of claustrophobia, and taxis are expensive, particularly because she has to travel to a neighbouring town for hospital appointments.Michael* said that the stress of fighting his PIP case through a tribunal – and also having to take his ESA appeal to a tribunal – caused him to have a heart attack.He said that both of the reports compiled by these assessors were “seriously dishonest, missing huge amounts of evidence I gave, some of which was extremely important to my case”.He had been assessed for PIP by an Atos physiotherapist, who failed to mention the “multiple pulmonary embolisms on my lungs which though I had suffered with from my first heart attack two years previously had only just been diagnosed”.He also claimed that Michael experienced only “mild pain”, when he had been told about his “neck and back injuries, a broken right kneecap, arthritis of the knees and angina, to name just a few of my problems”.As a result of the assessment, he was awarded no PIP payments at all, and it took him 18 months to reach tribunal, where he was finally awarded enhanced mobility and standard daily living.Another PIP claimant, Michelle*, said she was “devastated” when she received a copy of the “fictional” report compiled by the Atos nurse who assessed her.She plans to lodge a complaint with the nursing regulator, the Nursing and Midwifery Council.The report mentions the results of a hip rotation test, and a test to see if she could put a hand behind her back, neither of which she said she was asked to do.The nurse also said that she “can raise arm within normal range”, something she cannot and did not do.The report, she said, repeatedly states that she has “no significant restrictions in upper limbs and hands”, even though she has “severe cervical spondylosis and a deformed posture. My head is tilted and twisted. Obvious to anyone who looks at me.”The nurse also claimed that she took the top off a sports drinking bottle with “adequate dexterity”, when that was done by her son, and that she “passed prescription across the desk”, again something that was done by her son.Michelle had previously been receiving an indefinite award for the highest rates of both care and mobility under DLA for more than nine years.Following her assessment, that was reduced to the standard rates of PIP for mobility and daily living.She said: “This means I will lose [my] Motability car and won’t be able to get to hospital appointments, doctors or visit family.“Devastated that a member of medical profession could set out to deliberately discredit my application and defame my character.”Nicola* was assessed at home by a mental health nurse working for Capita. Even though the assessment was recorded, with the knowledge of both the assessor and Capita, she said he still “lied throughout the report”.Among the lies, he wrote that she saw friends every day and spoke to them daily on the phone, visited her GP in a taxi, and did not know what one of her inhalers was for, all of which was disproved by the recording, she said, while he also ignored her depression and emphysema.She said: “The whole system is corrupt and not fit for purpose. The DWP are fully aware of the lies that are told in the reports [but] they give their full support to Capita [and] Atos.”Christopher Brogan told DNS this week how he accompanied his partner, Mandy Cooper, to her PIP assessment in Birmingham last November.A Capita nurse assessor wrote that Mandy can visit a local shop on her own, even though she was not asked if she could do that, and cannot walk that far.The assessor said she had climbed a couple of steps at the assessment centre, even though there had been no steps in the building for her to climb and she had entered the building via a ramp.As a result of the report, Mandy’s higher rate mobility and care under DLA was changed to standard rate daily living and no mobility under PIP.They are taking her case to a tribunal.Barrie Davies told DNS this week that the Atos physiotherapist who assessed him in Wigan a few weeks ago told “lie after lie after lie” in his report.He failed to mention in the report that when the assessor asked Davies if he could touch his toes, he replied: “No, because I have broken my back.”Scans show two breaks in his spine, which is also “bulging, twisted and collapsing. I gave that evidence to him and it didn’t appear in his report.”As a result of the assessment, he had to hand back his Motability car this week, 17 years after a previous dishonest assessment report by a doctor led to him having his Motability car removed.He had previously been claiming the higher rate mobility and middle rate care component of DLA, but as a result of the latest assessment report, that was changed to the standard rate of PIP for both daily living and mobility.Davies said: “He said I can walk down steps without crutches and that is a lie.“I can’t move my neck at all. He said I have got good movement in it.“He said rotation of my back was perfect and my specialist said I can’t move it at all.”He is appealing against the decision, with support from the online welfare advice group Fightback4Justice.One claimant, who commented on last week’s story on the DNS website, described how his assessment report had proved to be “not just a pack of lies but contained 19 spelling mistakes, three sentences that were complete gibberish and at least two contradictory statements”.He said: “Among the lies, the report claims I’m taking a type of medication that I can’t swallow, one of the notes claims I’m doing all my own housework when it was made clear I had to employ someone to do this while another says I can use public transport, which I also made very clear was not the case.”He now plans to report his assessor to his local police force for alleged fraud by misrepresentation.Capita asked to see anonymous summaries of the latest cases this week, but then – after its media team had read them – refused to add to last week’s statement, in which it said it expected “all assessors to behave in a way that meets both our high professional standards and those of their professions”.Atos again refused to comment.A DWP spokeswoman said: “We expect the highest standards from the contractors who carry out PIP assessments.“We do not accept it to be the case that there is dishonesty amongst them.“As we said, we are committed to making sure the PIP assessment process works fairly and effectively, which is why we welcome independent reviews such as the ones led by Paul Gray, the second of which is expected in April 2017.“Anyone not happy with their benefit decision can ask for it to be looked at again, and then appeal to an independent tribunal.“There is also a comprehensive complaints procedure in place for claimants who are not happy with the service they have received from providers.”*Not their real names
Disabled campaigners are seeking to persuade the Welsh government to introduce a new scheme that would see service-providers displaying stickers that show how accessible they are.Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People (BCDP) wants shops, restaurants, transport providers, pubs and other service-providers to display a certificate which would show how well they are rated on access, on a scale from zero to five.It would work in a similar way to the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, which is run by local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with a similar scheme in Scotland.One idea is to have a rating for overall access, with symbols on the sticker also showing whether the organisation caters for people with particular impairments, such as logos for a hearing loop, a large print menu, autism awareness, a wheelchair-accessible toilet, and changing facilities.BCDP hopes that businesses that secure high ratings under such a scheme would persuade their competitors to improve their own access.And it hopes that if the scheme – which has backing from many other disability organisations, including Disability Wales and All Wales People First – was successful, it could spread across the UK.The scheme would be voluntary at first, but BCDP hopes it would eventually become compulsory.The coalition also plans to provide booklets that offer advice on how organisations can make their premises more accessible, such as information on where to buy a hearing loop and how to get a Braille menu printed. Simon Green (pictured), chair of BCDP, told Disability News Service: “We would be delighted if this scheme proved a success in Wales and was taken up across the UK.“We feel the scheme would be of huge benefit to disabled people everywhere and encourage business owners to improve access.“I am currently in London and think many areas of the capital need this to happen more than in Wales and it angers me how many large, well-known chain restaurants, coffee shops and fast food outlets, etc, have poor accessibility and it is long overdue that something was done about this.”Green said he did not believe the Equality Act was protecting disabled people from discrimination.He said: “The old Disability Discrimination Act and current Equality Act state places have to make a reasonable effort to be accessible, but it is obvious that this is not happening.“Managers are saying ‘we have done our best’ or state that it would cost them too much money.“While we are sure in some cases this is correct, often I feel this is just an excuse.”He added: “I have come across premises in South Wales that have had complete refurbishments and made themselves even less accessible that they were before, putting in unnecessary steps and not providing accessible toilets.“Also, often there are only small alterations needed like slightly widening an aisle or purchasing a temporary ramp and this idea will hopefully encourage premises to put these in place.“Even if premises cannot improve wheelchair access, we do not see a reason why they can’t do more to assist those with sensory or learning impairments, for example purchasing a Braille or large print menu, installing hearing loops, staff taking disability equality training, and so on. “If premises had to display an accessibility score on the front of the building we think they’d be far more likely to make the extra effort.” An online petition calling on the Welsh government to introduce an access certificate scheme has so far secured about 2,000 signatures, while the coalition is also collecting many signatures through paper petitions across the country.The coalition says on the petition: “Since the introduction of the food hygiene certificate we believe food standards have vastly improved and premises with a high number use the certificate with pride. “We believe premises will make a bigger effort to improve access and services for the disabled community if a similar certificate was introduced for access.”Green is confident the petition will secure 5,000 signatures by the end of March, which would guarantee a formal response from the Welsh government and a full debate in the Welsh assembly.The response from assembly members has already been encouraging, with the Conservative assembly member Suzy Davies securing a short debate on the subject last month.Davies told fellow assembly members: “I think interest in this scheme is further evidence that society is becoming more accepting, whether consciously or not, of the social model of disability, that disability is a feature of how society is organised, rather than an impairment that just has to be lived with.”She said such a scheme would be “a nudge towards… positive social change” and would be about “normalising the expectation of access to all, about it being surprising if buildings are closed off to groups of people with a particular disability, and about this being an everyday consideration for everyone, from the town planner to the architect, from the HR department to the union rep.“I think that’s quite a lot of value for money from a few stickers.”Vaughan Gething, Labour’s cabinet secretary for health and social services, said in response to Davies that “in principle, the idea does have some merit, and I welcome suggestions about practicalities and how such a scheme could work”.
Mission Local Wins The California Teachers Association awarded Mission Local with the John Swett Award for Media Excellence for Joe Eskenazi’s story, “Charter school advocates get down and, some say, dirty” in the category of Journals-Magazine-Special Publications and Websites. Eskenazi’s story takes a close look at the guerrilla tactics that Innovate Public Schools, a charter-school system, uses to garner support for itself in the community. Is the One Dollar Store a cultural asset? The Mission Economic Development Agency has filed a discretionary review for a project at 2100 Mission and 17th streets., now the site of the One Dollar Store. The project, proposed in 2009, would have 29 units over 3,500 square feet of retail space. “This store is a major cultural asset to the community, and if it is not retained in a permanent fashion, this would negatively impact the stability of our low-income families and add to the price pressure on the surrounding shops,” the non-profit wrote in the letter on May 5. They are requesting that the new development be contingent upon letting One Dollar Store have space on the ground floor of the project, or that it be replaced by a comparable, affordable and neighborhood-serving business. The Albion on 16th Superior Auto, the site of a potential restaurant and events space called the Albion on 16th, is up for rent and being marketed as, a “Trophy property located on a great corner of the vibrant Valencia Corridor in San Francisco’s Mission District.” In actuality, the approvals for the site are taking so long that the developer, MX3 Ventures, needs to fill the building in the meantime. “It’s unfathomable for how long it takes,” said Phil Lesser, a permitting expert who is helping the developer navigate the labyrinthine city planning process. Plans for the site have been troubled from the beginning. MX3 – owned by Manouch Moshayedi, a former tech executive – bought the building for an eye-opening $8.7 million in 2013, with plans to develop the site into housing. After being notified that the garage was considered a historic resource, those plans were quickly nixed. And with few options and no buyers on whom to off-load the property for $11 million, Moshayedi opted to turn the site into a restaurant and events space. Moshayedi told Mission Local he is still open to selling the historic garage. “If a customer comes up and sees it as viable and wants to take it over, then we’ll sell it,” he said, as the garage, an events space, or otherwise. Fundraiser for Horizons Horizons San Francisco Friends School, a Quaker school located in the Mission, will hold a fundraiser Wednesday, May 17, for its upcoming summer camp program for low-income students who attend Marshall Elementary, Buena Vista Elementary and the Mission Preparatory School . This is its fifth year putting on a six-week summer program that provides swim lessons, field trips, healthy meals and academic instruction in math and reading. It will be held at Standard Deviant Brewing (280 14th St.) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.. Is the Mission getting cleaner?I ran into Erin Espinosa, Devon Bogdan and Amanda Fletcher at the corner of 17th and Valencia streets on Friday morning and, given the newness of their orange vests, I asked who they were. Turns out, today is public service day at Gymboree, the San Francisco-based company that makes kids’ clothes. Espinosa and Fletcher said it was their second annual service day working in the Mission, and they had some good news: the Mission has gotten cleaner. LC Tags: neighborhood notes Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletterEmail Address
Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter Work schedules obtained by Mission Local reveal that Patrick Ricketts, the journeyman electrician who was killed last month while working on Muni’s Twin Peaks tunnel project, was putting in what one city official described as “crazy hours.” Ricketts, 51, was killed Aug. 10 when a steel beam fell onto him. Among the very first things his widow purportedly said when informed of her husband’s death was: “Well, I know this job is really on a crunch time.”The work schedule for Ricketts would seem to prove this quite true. The journeyman electrician was routinely putting in 12-, 13-, or even 13.25-hour days — adding up to 80-plus-hour weeks. Ricketts’ hours spiked the week of June 25, when the tunnel was closed for two months of long-planned maintenance and upgrades. He put in 82 hours that week, up from 30.5 the week prior. His work totals dropped to 50 and 53 hours over the next two weeks, but he then put in 68, 85, 79.5 and 67.5 hours — and that final total represents a work week truncated by his untimely death. Email Address Questions directed to Muni about its policy regarding construction contractors putting in extreme hours such as these — or whether these work totals come as a surprise — were not answered by press time.But, says John Doherty, the business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 6, it’s all 100 percent above board. “Under the collective bargaining agreement he was working under,” Doherty confirmed, “there were no restrictions on the number of hours a member can work.” The week-by-week hours worked by Patrick Ricketts prior to his death in the Twin Peaks Tunnel on Aug. 10. *Ricketts’ work week was cut short in the week of Aug. 5 due to his death.State rules regarding construction work are largely concerned with compensation rates rather than maximum allowable daily or weekly hours. Labor sources described the number of hours Ricketts was working on a publicly funded job as extreme, but hardly unheard of. One fellow union worker recalled 24-hour, split-shift concrete pours and marathon workdays — also financed by the public’s dime — during the time-sensitive construction of Mt. Davis at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum. Ricketts earned extensive overtime and double-time payments during his busy months on the job. But, as Doherty notes, “the whole point behind overtime and double-time is that it’s not meant to be a bonus for the worker. It’s meant to be a deterrent to overworking people.” And yet Ricketts worked a great deal of hours, regardless. This was largely due to his specialty, Doherty continues. Ricketts’ expertise was in signaling, and this was a period when his work was intensely required. Ricketts’ death came as workers were facing down an end-of-August deadline — and, also, right as the riding public was finally being made aware of the connection between the closure of the tunnel and citywide transit slowdowns on bus lines miles away from the project.The fatal accident led to the revelation that Ricketts’ employer, Shimmick Construction, was apparently less than forthright when answering a pre-bid questionnaire regarding its prior safety record. Mayor London Breed rebuked Muni over this, demanding it devise stronger safeguards to fact-check contractors’ records. An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) into the events leading to Ricketts’ death is ongoing. City sources, meanwhile, say that Ricketts was killed when he left his work area to fetch a tool and was struck by the falling steel beam. Whether his colleagues — particularly the ones responsible for work on the steel beam — were working similarly lengthy hours “is something OSHA will be looking at,” we are told. Mission Local obtained Ricketts’ schedules via a public records request. We have, subsequently, made a similar request for the hours of his colleagues who were working on August 10, the day of Ricketts’ death — and for the hours put in by the workers who installed the steel beam that killed Ricketts.Update, 10:15 a.m.: Muni responds to our queries about the hours its contract workers put in on this project — “The number of hours any particular employee works can vary from project to project and company to company. SFMTA generally specifies the scope of the work to be performed. When contractors enter into a contract with SFMTA, the contractor is agreeing to perform a task within specific parameters. Ultimately, it is the contractor’s business decision to staff the job according to the client’s needs and within federal, state, and local regulatory requirements (e.g., apprentice participation, diversity participation).“This was a 60-day project that ran 24 hours/day with multiple shifts. You will most likely need to discuss with the contractors what is the maximum allowed per shift based on union rules. Typically the prime contractor coordinates with the union when they have to work longer than typical hours or change work shifts. We do not specify maximum allowable hours in our contracts or specify standards.”
On the ground floor of the Mission branch of the San Francisco Public Library, just past the circulation desk, is what the lead architect of the library’s 2020 renovation deemed a “sacred space.”The room features bookshelves along the perimeter lined with children’s literature, and an open space in the center with appropriately-sized tables and chairs for young patrons. Programs for children, such as storytime in both English and Spanish, are typically offered on weekday mornings, but on this particular Sunday afternoon, kids read on their own. It is clear why patrons who attended last month’s community meeting regarding the renovation project underlined the importance of this area designed for the community’s children. While some kids thoughtfully browsed the aisles in search of a book that caught their attention, others sat down as they held vibrantly illustrated stories in their small hands. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter A mother is led into the colorful space by her five-year-old, curly haired daughter. “I love coming to the library and that it’s a space we can come to regularly,” said Heather Davis. “We can find books that she’s interested in and get exposure to without having to buy them.” Her daughter, Ella, has recently taken an interest in Elena of Avalor, an adventurous teen princess and the protagonist of the eponymous Disney television series. Ella hands her mom a book based on the TV series and shares that she loves princesses because “they have magic,” before shyly hugging her mom. Heather Davis and her five-year-old daughter, Ella, scan the bookshelves in the children’s room of the Mission Branch Library.The mother-daughter duo, who visit the Mission Branch library at least once a month, live nearby. Not only is the distance convenient, but Davis visits the library out of a sense of nostalgia. “I also remember going to the library when I was a kid,” she said. “My mom was a librarian and she would take me on Saturdays.” As the daughter of a librarian, she recognizes the importance of the public institution as a place that is open and valuable to everyone. Even as an adult, she visits the library on afternoons to read and work upstairs in the general floor area. She finds the librarians are always ready to serve help all the families who frequent the library.“My daughter has learned that the librarians can find things that I cannot find,” said Davis. When she can’t locate a specific book, her daughter, “without fail,” asks the librarians to help. When Ella was just getting interested in princesses, Davis recalled an instance in which a librarian asked what kind of princess stories she was looking for. “There’s so many stories, and [the librarian] pointed us in some really great directions and books that [Ella] liked and were good for her age group, as well as more interesting princess stories,” said Davis. “Mom! Mom!” Ella, who is also into books about dinosaurs and nature, takes her mom by the hand around the corner to another bookshelf. The young and voracious reader selects a book about the coral reef. It’s a beloved book that she’s checked out at least 10 times, according to her mom. “I like ocean stuff and I needed learning about emotions!” Ella explains in the straightforward manner of an adult. Ella Davis, whose reading interests range from princesses to dinosaurs and nature, peruses the shelves for the perfect children’s book.They walk to the other side of the bookshelf, where Ella finds a lift-the-flap storybook titled Walk This Wild World. While her mom holds the book, she searches for the camouflaged flaps to explore new animal habitats with each turn of the page. Although Davis was unaware that the city expects to break ground on the library renovation in the summer of 2020, she cited the Noe Valley Branch as a possible alternative during that time. “We can make it into a bus adventure,” she tells her daughter. “What do you think?” Email Address
SAINTS Chairman, Eamonn McManus, has expressed his thanks to the fans for their fantastic support in a difficult 2011 season for them and for the Club.He said: “The loyalty, patience and support of our fans in a season without a home has been great to see. In particular, the turnout and the passion shown by our fans last weekend at Old Trafford was inspirational and it was tragic that, ultimately, it could not be repaid with the Super League trophy.“Despite the result, however, I’m absolutely thankful to our fans and so proud of our very young team who came so close to unexpected glory. We are presently down, but will never be out. We will keep going back to win it, and that we will – whether it be next season or the next or the next, that must always remain our aim.“We have put massive effort and faith in our local youth system, of which we are rightfully proud, and this will stand us in good stead for the next decade.“Next season sees us in a fabulous new home which will be a source of inspiration to the Club and to the town.“We now have it all to look forward to and it is to the future only that we should all now look, and with real excitement.”
SAINTS Season Ticket Holders visited Langtree Park for the first time on Friday night as the Club began the process to gain a safety certificate.Several thousand fans braved freezing conditions and hailstorms to see the view inside the stadium and get used to their new surroundings.They also saw the first team train in wintry weather and heard pre-season thoughts of new signings Lance Hohaia, Mark Flanagan and Anthony Laffranchi as well as Head Coach Royce Simmons.Hundreds also flocked into the new Saints Superstore to snap up Christmas bargains.Saints would like to thank everyone who came to the event and helped us in this vital Health & Safety requirement.
ST.HELENS R.F.C. have announced a partnership with Rochdale Hornets.The Club has created a four-tier playing pathway which it hopes will prove beneficial following the changes to the sub Super League competition announced recently by the RFL.The Under 20s and Under 18s competitions will be shelved for a new Under 19s league.“This partnership is a culmination of three months of hard work with Rochdale and we are delighted they have agreed to link with us,” Saints General Manager Mike Rush said. “The move will give our players the opportunity to continue their development at a higher level and we look forward to watching them progress.“As part of the move, Ian Talbot, our Under 20s coach, will be taking up the Head Coaching position at Rochdale whilst Ex-Rochdale and GB International Matt Calland will also join the set up as Head of Youth and work with the first team squad.“Ian, Glynn Walsh and Steve Prescott from Saints and Dave Ramsbottom from Rochdale will be retained to give the Hornets a strong coaching set up which in turn will provide a great player pathway for both clubs and their local players.”The new link-up will see up to five dual registered or loan players play for the Championship side to aid their development.Hornets’ Chairman Mark Wynn said: “We are thrilled by this partnership. It is an opportunity not just for Hornets but for Rugby League as a whole in Rochdale. Any ambitious youngster in the town can now see a path which leads right to the very top of the game.”The club will also link with Whitehaven RLFC too as part of the changes to the structure.Cumbria is a great breeding ground for Rugby League talent and the partnership has dual benefits for both clubs as well as creating a four-tier player pathway.Barry Richardson from Whitehaven added: “This is mutually beneficial with Whitehaven being able to call upon quality players from St Helens on a weekly basis and the two clubs to develop a strong and lasting relationship with an increased presence in West Cumbria through both clubs’ community programmes and through building upon the excellent relationship over the last few years that has been built up between St Helens and Dave Woods the new Whitehaven Coach.“This will also give the opportunity for the two clubs to attract top local Cumbrian players who could be available to play initially for St Helens Under 19s or Whitehaven’s first team and hopefully to progress longer term through to the Saints first team or part of a strong Whitehaven team established in the Championship.”
NOT a Season Ticket Holder? Then enjoy our special taster matches!You can watch Saints’ first three home fixtures of the 2014 First Utility Super League season and then if you’ve enjoyed your experience at Langtree Park, get the package price off a full season ticket for the rest of the year!The games will see Nathan Brown’s side take on Hull FC on February 21, Hull KR (March 7) and Catalan Dragons (March 14).And as a ‘season ticket holder’ for those three matches you can take advantage of a number of special benefits including 10 per cent off all Saints merchandise until March 14.The three match package is priced at £54 for the Hattons Solicitors West Stand and just £66 for silver sections of the Solarking South and Totally Wicked North Stands.Concessions can enjoy prices of £36 and £48 respectively.To find out more information or to buy pop into the Ticket Office or log on to www.saintsuperstore.comThis offer is only available up until the Hull FC game on February 21.
IT’S a busy time of the year both in developing the stars of the future and welcoming our junior fans to the Saints.On Wednesday April 8 our young supporters can enjoy an Easter Camp at the Saints Academy, part of Cowley International College.It will feature a range of fun skills and drills and is open to everyone between the ages of 5 to 12-years-oldThe session will last for two hours, starting at 10am on our training field, so bring along your training kit and boots to take part in the activities.And, you’ll receive a free Easter gift in readiness for the morning finishing at 12.00pm.The activity is costs only £20 or £15 if you are a Junior Member.With further sessions also planned exclusively for Junior Members, why not show your support and join today.To become a junior member or to book your place on the Easter fun camp, simply call into the club shop at Langtree Park, tel: 01744 455 052 or log on here.Other planned dates:Wednesday April 8 – U12s Player Development Session – 3pm to 4.30pm at Saints Training Facility at Cowley International CollegeWednesday April 15 – U13s Player Development Session – 3pm to 4.30pm at Saints Training Facility at Cowley International CollegeThursday April 16 – Junior Members Camp at Langtree Park – open to members only. Details to be follow on the Saints website.Any information required regarding the Player Development sessions only please email Craig Richards.