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10 Years of the Football Memories Project

New initiative with the NHS marks 10 years of our Football Memories Project.

Yes, our Football Memories Project is 10 years old.

Marking 10 years of the pioneering reminiscence programme, Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Older People and Equalities, announced a new initiative between NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) and Football Memories Scotland.

The Minister joined Robert Craig, Chair of the Scottish Football Museum, Henry Simmons, CEO of Alzheimer Scotland, Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland and Ann-Frances Fisher, Associate Chief Nurse with NHS GGC, to mark the 10th anniversary of Football Memories Scotland and launch this new initiative.

The partnership will include a recruitment drive to attract and train new volunteers so that they can support football reminiscence activity within a number of NHS GGC hospitals. Volunteers will be trained to support patients in hospitals who have an interest in football, including people living with dementia, by talking about teams and matches from the past and using images and tangible memorabilia from a Football Memory box to stimulate memories.

Football Memory boxes contain a range of football-related items, from old footballs and shirts, to carbolic soap and liniment oil. The items are utilised as part of reminiscence work to stimulate memories using all the senses.

A generous donation from The West of Scotland Tartan Army (WESTA) has helped to create two Football Memories Boxes and these will be presented to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde officials by representatives from WESTA.

Based at the home of Scottish football Hampden Park, the Football Memories Project is a partnership between Alzheimer Scotland and the Scottish Football Museum. The project has received significant funding from Museums Galleries Scotland and Alzheimer Scotland in recent years.

Christina McKelvie MSP, Minister for Older People and Equalities, said: “It is wonderful to be able to use the power of our national game to help people with dementia unlock memories, and bring happiness to them, their friends and their families. The initiative delivers a range of positive benefits and has now been successfully expanded to other sports.”

“I am delighted to see this new partnership support a project which is helping to improve people’s lives and strengthen communities and I applaud Robert Craig and his team, Alzheimer Scotland and, of course, the army of volunteers involved.”

Robert Craig, Chair of the Scottish Football Museum, shared: “10 years ago, the Scottish Football Museum, Falkirk FC, Aberdeen FC and the Hibernian Historical Trust started a small but pioneering reminiscence project utilising the power of football to help people living with dementia.  The project has grown significantly from those early beginnings to include over 200 football memory groups across Scotland. It has been replicated in other countries including Brazil, the USA and the Netherlands, and has inspired similar work in other sports such as cricket, rugby, shinty, golf, speedway and baseball. This latest partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will further widen the scope of the project to train volunteers to support reminiscence work within hospitals across Glasgow and the West.”

Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland, added: “Alzheimer Scotland are extremely grateful and proud for all that has been achieved by Football Memories Scotland, to help people living with dementia. Over the past 10 years the football reminiscence group network has brought football fans and their families together across the country to enjoy reminiscing about games, players and of life memories associated with Scotland’s football clubs. The ongoing generosity of our supporters is what makes our vital work possible and has given us the opportunity to provide a funding contribution for this project.”

“This is one of the most successful strategic partnerships that we have and an exemplar of organisations and individuals across Scotland rising to the challenge of supporting people living with dementia through every means possible. Football is at the heart of so many of our communities and Football Memories Scotland has quickly become one of the most important social and therapeutic activities being offered to the people we support throughout Scotland.”

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland, comments: “Museums Galleries Scotland is proud to have supported the Scottish Football Museum in their work with people living with dementia from the very beginning. From awarding funding towards the original one year pilot project in 2009, MGS is delighted to have seen this programme develop over the past 10 years into a national scheme. Its incredible impact on those living with dementia and social isolation shows the very real effect that reminiscence and museum objects can have on health, wellbeing and communities.”

Ann-Frances Fisher, Associate Chief Nurse with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, said:

“Football memory cards work really well in acute hospital wards and at the Glasgow Royal infirmary Dementia café and have created a great opportunity for volunteers and staff to encourage reminiscence with patients. The football memories project also allows volunteers to generate some really interesting conversations with patients that start with football but then lead onto the many different parts of patients’ lives.  They enable us to develop a more person-centred meaningful activity with the patients.”

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