Packie Bonner's event will take place on 24th June next.

Reminiscing through football to aid those living with dementia

Packie Bonner is special guest at first Football Memories event

Shelbourne Football Club and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (The ASI) have announced an exciting new partnership and programme of events called Football Memories, to increase awareness of dementia, reduce the stigma surrounding it, and support communities to become more dementia inclusive.

The first Football Memories event will take place with special guest, former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper, Packie Bonner on Thursday 24th June at 4pm.

These events will allow people living with dementia to participate in a fun and stimulating experience, using football as a unifying topic of engagement. Reminiscence will play a key part in these events with images, stories and personal experiences being shared.

The aim is to create a welcoming environment for those living with dementia to share their own sporting memories with us, and each other.

The following is part of the partnership:

•One Football Memories event will be held each month for 12 months

•Programme will commence in June 2021

•Events held remotely until safe to meet as a group

•When safe to do so, the events will then be held in Tolka Park, and will include a tour of the ground and stories of historic games and players.

Shelbourne FC will host each of the events and the programme will include recalling of great stories from former players and fans, engaging quizzes, and the viewing of old footage and clips from famous footballing moments.

Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of conditions that impact brain function. It can have an effect on memory, thinking, language and the ability to carry out everyday tasks.

There are many conditions which fall under the umbrella of dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common of these. Vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies, and Frontotemporal dementia are other types of dementia.

Shelbourne FC has recently been affected by dementia having lost former players Tony Dunne and Tommy Carroll recently, both of whom lived with the condition after their playing days.

The issue has become more and more prevalent in the game, and both SFC and The ASI have identified the positive power of football to help raise awareness for the conditions while also creating fun, engaging and impactful experiences for those living with dementia.

Though we wish to enjoy these special events in future at Tolka Park, we will be beginning the series virtually and we would be delighted to begin registration for the events via now.

These events are specifically designed for persons living with dementia to attend and enjoy. Registration is open to all, however we especially encourage those on the dementia journey, along with their family carers, to register for the event and to participate in what is sure to be a series of wonderful evenings at Shelbourne FC with our friends at The ASI.

Shelbourne Football Club CEO David O’Connor said: “We’re really excited to begin this new programme of events in close partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland. The Society is known throughout Ireland for their invaluable work that has impacted countless lives and we hope these events can add to that using the power of football as a unifying force. At Shelbourne FC, we want to create an environment where everyone is welcome and these events go further to creating that. Our work so far with the ASI has shown to us how impactful these events will be and we hope supporters can experience that along with us.”

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Donal Murphy, Operations Manager said: “It is wonderful that we are now in a position to introduce the concept of Sporting Memories into Ireland. These international programmes aim to provide reminiscence therapy for people living with dementia and are enjoyable events for all. This is an initiative we were exploring and so we were delighted when Shelbourne contacted us with the concept of a 'Football Memories' programme. The programme will involve former players speaking about their careers, sharing memorabilia and showing clips of memorable matches they would have played in over the years. These programmes have been in place in Scotland for over a decade with Scotish Football clubs working in conjunction with Alzheimer Scotland. We are very excited to partner with Shelbourne FC on their ‘Reds Together’ goals and it is our pleasure to support them in their work to make a positive impact to the lives of People living with Dementia and their caregivers”

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