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Sharing memories to tackle dementia, depression & loneliness

sporting memories

Sporting Memories Network continues to work in partnership with the PFA, and clubs in supporting older people and uniting generations. The network uses memories of the beautiful game to support people living with dementia, depression and to reduce loneliness and isolation.

Current and former players have been getting increasingly involved in supporting the network by sharing their own memories on the replay football website and by helping out or visiting the groups. Supporters of the work include CEO of the PFA Gordon Taylor, Robbie Savage, Clive Allen, Chris Kamara, Nigel Martyn & Craig Easton. Patrons of the Sporting Memories Foundation charity include former Middlesbrough striker Bernie Slaven, former FA Head of Communications Adrian Bevington & Talksport’s very own Paul Hawksbee.

This innovative approach was recognised at the Football Business Awards, held at Stamford Bridge in November 2014 when Paul Thorogood, CEO of the Football Foundation presented the network with Best Football Community Scheme award. The award recognised the partnerships created by the network and the great work of the football clubs’ community foundations & volunteers involved in the increasing number of projects being run across the country.

Building on work established with over 400 organisations, new projects in 2014/15 have included work with Wigan Athletic Community Trust, York City Football Club Foundation and Middlesbrough Football Club Community Foundation. Wigan Athletic and York City raised awareness of the network and included information on dementia, depression and loneliness in their ‘memories games’ match day programmes at league matches where volunteers of all ages were on hand to collect memories of players and fans. Stewart Downing and George Friend were on hand to help launch Sporting Memories Foundation as one of Middlesbrough Football Club’s chosen charities for the 2015/16 season.

A Day at the Museum

On World Alzheimer’s Day September 21st 2014 Sporting Memories Network teamed up with the National Football Museum to stage a family memories day to mark World Alzheimer’s Day. The event was supported by the PFA. Former Manchester City & England star Mike Summerbee was joined by John Hudson, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at the museum to be on hand to chat to visitors and to share their own memories of playing the beautiful game. Digital artist Graham Kershaw captured John and ‘Buzzer’s’ recollections and turned these into online works of art, which can be viewed on the network website.

The PFA have given their backing to a joint bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund by the National Football Museum and the Sporting Memories Network for a project and exhibition marking the upcoming 50th anniversary of England’s finest moment in World Football. The Memories of 66 project was launched by Sir Bobby Charlton and chair of trustees Paul Dermody at the Museum’s Hall of Fame induction evening in November 2014. The network is collecting players’ and fans’ memories of life in England leading up to the tournament, of attending group matches and of course memories of watching England win the World Cup Final.

In 2015 the Premier League Charitable Trust and PFA awarded a grant to Sporting Memories Network to begin work with a further four premier league club’s community foundations. Work is commencing with the foundations at Manchester City, Newcastle United, Sunderland and QPR.

“Quite often, a passion and love for your local team and the game of football is developed at an early stage in our lives. This passion remains with us throughout our adult lives providing us with both wonderful moments perhaps when a title is won and despair when our team just misses out. This project will use those memories to bring members of our local neighbourhood together to share stories and memories.”

QPR in the Community Trust CEO Andy Evans

Peter Tickle, Health and Education Manager at City in the Community said:

“We are thrilled to be working with Sporting Memories to provide opportunities for the older residents in our community. Teaming up with our walking football sessions will be a great way for our older participants to get some regular, informal exercise as well as looking after their general health and wellbeing.”

For more information please visit: and @SportsMemNet