Tackling Dementia

Tackling Dementia

Tackling Dementia through Sporting Memories

THEY think it’s all over – it’s only just begun! On the day England launched their World Cup 2018 bid, a brand new sports, health and lifestyle initiative was unveiled in Leyland.

The Lancashire FA headquarters, Thurston Road Leyland, hosted the inaugural meeting of the ‘Leyland branch’ of the Sporting Memories Foundation Network. The Network is supporting groups throughout the country in a bid to tackle dementia, loneliness and depression through the power of sporting memories.

The groups use sporting archival reports, memorabilia, objects and images to engage older people in both stimulating conversation and reminiscence, thus promoting mental and physical well-being. It has proven to be particularly effective with dementia sufferers.

Leyland volunteer Keith McIntosh, with help from Lancashire FA, the Sporting Memories Foundation, South Ribble Dementia Action Alliance and others, introduced what will become a weekly event to a packed audience.

He said: “We have received lots of donations of great sporting objects, many people have offered support, including former professional players. We’re all excited about the future of this group.”

It was fitting that, on the day England kicked off their current World Cup campaign in Russia, guest of honour was Leyland’s Brian Pilkington, formerly of Burnley FC and England, who himself is living with Alzheimer’s.

Megan Hale, Regional Project Co-ordinator for the Sporting Memories Network, said: “It’s wonderful to see so many people in Leyland at the launch. We have funding for a three year project to support people with dementia, depression and loneliness through the power of reminiscence. Not only that, we aim to encourage lots more to get involved in physical activities through this group.”

Anna-Marie Knipe, Chair of the South Ribble Action Alliance, added; “This is a fantastic initiative, we fully support it as it further underlines the fact that South Ribble is officially a ‘Dementia Friendly’ borough. We wish the Leyland Sporting Memories Project every success, long may it continue.”

Former local football stars Trevor Meredith (Burnley) and Alex Bruce (Preston North End) also attended the launch. Norman Prince, comedian and long-suffering Bolton Wanderers supporter, provided the laughs.

The Leyland Sporting Memories group will meet every Monday morning at the Lancashire FA headquarters between 11am and 12.30pm, all are welcome.

For more information call Andrew Whitaker on 07889 804863 or email Andrew.whitaker@lancashirefa.com

Picture: Anna-Marie Knipe Chair South Ribble Dementia Alliance at the launch of the Leyland Sporting Memories Group