Sporting Memories Foundation works with care homes to combat dementia

Memories from the 1966 World Cup were collected and shared as part of Leeds Beckett University’s celebration of Dementia Awareness Week yesterday.

As part of a new partnership with the Sporting Memories Foundation, a charity which works across communities to support older people, the event brought together people from care homes and those living with dementia.

The ‘Memories of 1966’ project celebrates the glory of 1966 and the legacy of England’s win 50 years later and will culminate in an exhibition housed at The National Football Museum later this year.

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The project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, focuses on collecting the memories of players, fans and ordinary people affected by the famous World Cup win.

The Leeds Beckett event provided an opportunity for older people living around Leeds to share their own experiences of when heroic England captain Bobby Moore joyfully lifted the Jules Rimet trophy.

These memories will also be used in the groundbreaking work with Sporting Memories Network and the National Football Museum across Greater Manchester that is set to support older fans and to tackle dementia, depression and loneliness.

The Sporting Memories Foundation and Leeds Beckett University have recently entered in to a partnership which will see researchers from Leeds Beckett engage with evaluation of the charity’s work as well as enabling Leeds Beckett students to gain experience through a number of planned student projects.

160519-1 Dementia Week HC- Sporting Memories-0119Tony Jameson-Allen, co-founder and director of the Sporting Memories Network, explained: “At Sporting Memories we believe in the power of reminiscing to help combat the debilitating effects of dementia, depression and loneliness and we applaud the work of Professor Claire Surr and her team at Leeds Beckett in the critical research they are currently undertaking.

“Through the Memories of 1966 project we hope to engage older people in sharing their experiences of life in Leeds in ’66. Not only their recollections of the football, but the culture, fashion, transport and music of the sixties. These will be added to the official memories archive and will be used in our work across generations.”

Claire Surr, Professor of Dementia Studies at Leeds Beckett, added: “Our partnership with the Sporting Memories Network offers some exciting opportunities for both organisations to work together more closely to support positive lives for people living with dementia. The work of the Sporting Memories Network resonates with many existing areas of research expertise here at Leeds Beckett and we look forward to engaging in collaborative research and project work.”

The Sporting Memories Foundation charity supports older people across the UK living with dementia, depression and loneliness by engaging them in social activities and helping them to recall memories of watching or playing sport. By sharing memories of sporting moments and tapping into a passion for sport the charity helps people to connect with others and with their past, reawakening positive thoughts and feelings that otherwise remain hidden away.

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