Dementia Group proving successful, as football fans’ reminisce over bygone days

Mansfield Town Football in the Community’s weekly Dementia Group is proving to be a real success as sports fans of all ages join together to remember their yesteryears.

Set up in Partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, the weekly group encourages people living with Dementia and their carers to come along and share their sporting memories over a cup of tea and a biscuit.

Designed to stimulate the brain through a shared love of sport, the sessions have continued to grow in popularity and this week over thirty people were in attendance to share stories, look at old team photographs and take a trip down memory lane with Mansfield Town books and memorabilia.

Daisy Pappila, the Activities Co-Ordinator at Forest Manor Nursing Home, Sutton-In-Ashfield said “I thought this would be a great way to get our residents back out into the Community because some of them were very active sportsmen in their younger lives, this is a fantastic way for them to interact outside of the nursing home and the facilities.

“We put a lot of emphasis on putting on activities similar to what the residents used to do, and with many of them as ex sportsmen and spectators we do tend to talk about sport a lot so it’s lovely for them to come out and meet likeminded people.

“One of our residents Percy is 99 years old, he’s a war veteran of the Second World War and was an active footballer and cricketer so for him to come out and have a look at some of these photos and interact with the other people that have as much enthusiasm for the game as he does has been fantastic.”

Rose Dent is the Co-Production Development Worker at Nottinghamshire County who has helped to set the scheme up in partnership with Football in the Community “The idea was to create a memory café style group which was centred around football and in particular Mansfield Town, it’s gone really well so far and it’s growing in popularity with more and more care homes from around the county looking to bring residents down [to the One Call Stadium] to enjoy the morning.

“Football has been such a big thing for people over the years, whether that’s playing in a Sunday League, being a season ticket holder at a club – it just brings people together and unites them, it’s a big shared interest from a lot of the people who come down to the groups”

Arthur Frost began attending the group last week along with his wife June, she believes the group has given Arthur a new lease of life “It gives us both a social life which is nice, he’s starting to sleep a lot better now – he used to really struggle to settle and used to wake up at all hours – but over the last week he’s started sleeping in – I’m so glad we decided to come along.”

Nottinghamshire County Councillor Tony Harper is the Vice-Chairman of the Adult & Social Care Committee – he added “Our aim is to make Nottinghamshire a Dementia Friendly County so it’s really good to see so many people turning out [to this group], and the best thing about this one is the magnet of football.

“People have got the confidence to come here because it’s a friendly environment; it’s a place where they’ve been many times during their lives and particular with Mansfield Town.

“The participants who come here are very open to reliving their experiences and with a lot of the old books and photographs out on the table, it encourages people to pick them up, remember the players’ careers – that’s fantastic to see.

“It’s important to have Community functions and groups where people [living with Dementia] can come and chat to other people, as it gets people out of the house and gets people talking – come and join us here, it’s a fantastic group.”

Mansfield Town Football in the Community’s dementia group runs every Friday from 10 am until 12noon at the One Call Stadium in the Community Room. It’s completely FREE of charge and has disabled access – for further information, give us a call on 01623 656 920.