Alfreton FC pitches in to support dementia sufferers

Alfreton town's captain Dan Bradley.
Alfreton town's captain Dan Bradley.
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An innovative group for people with dementia is coming to Derbyshire thanks to a partnership between the Alzheimer’s Society and Alfreton Town Football Club.

The Sporting Reminiscence group will see visitors discuss past football and sporting experiences with the help of memorabilia such as programmes and newspaper cuttings.

Sporting Reminiscence will meet monthly at the Reds’ Impact Arena starting on September 10 and will focus on football but could also include physical activities such as Walking Football.

Helen O’Connor, Alzheimer’s Society Services Manager for Derbyshire, said: “It’s really exciting to be working with Alfreton Town FC to try something we have never done before. We do reminiscence activities in our support groups, but focussing on sport isn’t something we have tried before.

“Reminiscence work uses a person-centred approach – it is a way of tapping into the long term memory of those who have short term memory problems. Something as simple as the Match of the Day theme tune, a 1950s’ programme, a rattle or an old newspaper report can bring back vivid memories. The activity helps carers and loved ones engage with people with dementia in a positive way and has the potential to improve the quality of life for people with dementia.”

Research shows approximately 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia and more than half have Alzheimer’s disease. In less than ten years more than a million people will be living with dementia and this could soar to 1.7 million by 2051. It is estimated 11,000 people in Derbyshire are currently diagnosed with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Society runs the Derbyshire Dementia Support Service funded by Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire’s Clinical Commissioning Groups and it champions the rights of dementia sufferers and their carers.

ATFC Community scheme chairman John Glasby said: “This is another example of Alfreton Town FC serving it’s community and providing a solution. There is almost no support for dementia in the Alfreton area and this needs to be rectified. Both our Community Scheme manager Jimmy Redfern and club captain Dan Bradley will be involved and it is the club’s intention to be recognised as the first Dementia Friendly club in the UK. If this project is successful then other clubs will follow.”

Many sufferers will be referred to this programme by their doctor or by the Alzheimer’s Society, but if anyone is interested they can contact the Society on 01332 208845. The Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline is 0300 222 1122 and people can visit alzheimers.org.uk.