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Football session with Seagulls’ charity is tackling impact of dementia

Published on 20 November 2018 09:47 AM

Brighton and Hove Albion’s official charity has teamed up with Age UK Brighton and Hove to tackle the impact of dementia by running a specially-adapted walking football session.

Albion in the Community (AITC) and the Dementia Action Alliance recently combined to launch the project, called Walk Tall Football, which includes regular sessions at the King Alfred Centre in Hove.

Throughout a ten-week long pilot, the session proved popular, with regular attendance from more than a dozen people.

Not everyone who takes part has dementia - some are carers, friends, or partners of people who do; the group can also cater for people living with, and after, the effects of cancer. The idea behind the session, however, is to provide people affected by long-term conditions such as dementia with a supportive environment in which to get active and socialise in a safe and effective way.

Coaching is provided by AITC and the sessions take place every Monday lunchtime, with a new group set to start in January.

Matthew Moors, Dementia Action Alliance co-ordinator, said: “Walk Tall Football targets not only physical health, but mental health too.

“People with dementia can sometimes feel isolated, lonely or anxious about going out. This initiative gives participants the opportunity to get fitter in a relaxed environment, while also socialising and having fun.

“We’ve had great feedback and there’s been a healthy dose of competition on the pitch too.”

Siobhan Meaker, health manager at Albion in the Community, said: “Walk Tall Football is a great way of combining strength and balance exercises with the fun of gentle football competition. We know that living with a long-term degenerative health condition can lead to people feeling excluded and isolated - we’re working in partnership to overcome these barriers and encourage people to feel able again.

“Seeing the group grow in confidence has been a real pleasure and we’d love to welcome new people into our January group.”

Walk Tall Football is one of a number of health programmes run by AITC which are aimed at supporting people to stay active. Funding has been provided by Brighton and Hove City Council’s third sector partnership programme.

The Dementia Action Alliance is managed by Age UK Brighton & Hove and aims to make Brighton and Hove a dementia friendly city.

For more information on Walk Tall Football, or any of AITC’s other health programmes, email: health@albioninthecommunity.org.uk. For further information on Age UK Brighton & Hove visit www.ageuk-bh.org.uk or call 01273 720 603.