In partnership with Dementia Club UK (DCUK), Barnet Walking Football, and the Middlesex FA, Barnet Copthall Leisure Centre hosted the launch of the ‘Forget Me Not FC’ project on Wednesday 21st November. This project was originally founded by the Uxbridge Amblers in 2015, and aims to support residents living with dementia and their carers through a community-focused multi-sports programme made up of walking football, golf, tennis and boccia.
Dementia is a syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning and includes memory loss, disruption in thought patterns, and difficulties with language. One in 14 people over the age of 65 have dementia in the UK, which negatively impacts their ability to function and carry out everyday activities. The NHS also report that:
- There are over 850,000 people in the UK living with Dementia.
- There are approximately 540,000 carers for people living with Dementia in the UK.
- 66,000 people have cut their working hours to care for a family member.
Research continues to demonstrate the benefits of exercise on those living with dementia, not only for physical health but for mental health too. Physical activity also creates valuable opportunities to socialise with others, and can help improve and maintain a person's independence. This is beneficial to both people with dementia and their carers. Engaging in physical activities can also improve self-esteem and mood, which in turn encourages more social engagement that may also contribute to wellbeing.
At our launch event on the 21st of November, over 30 local residents living with dementia and their carers took part in fun and engaging football activities whilst having a good laugh, followed by reminiscing and social activities in the café. There were smiles all round throughout the day, and cake kindly provided for by Dementia Club UK. The Barnet Walking Football team will continue to lead sessions from January 2024 onwards, having received funding from the Middlesex FA to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project.
This project is yet another example of the importance of collaborative work between local stakeholders to aid in the delivery of activities which aim give our most vulnerable residents the opportunity to socialise and undertake physical activity. Many thanks to the Middlesex FA, Barnet Walking Football, and Dementia Club UK who go above and beyond to provide help and support to those living with dementia and their carers.