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Sports Clubs Get Dementia Aware with New Course

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A host of sporting clubs across Worcestershire have been taking part in a new course to ensure their staff are dementia friendly and aware.

Staff from the University of Worcester’s Institute of Sport and Exercise Science have been delivering the free course, with support and guidance from the University’s Association for Dementia Studies, as a way of raising awareness in the sporting community.

So far staff and volunteers from cricket, football, and golf clubs have been among those to take part, learning about how they can become ‘Dementia Friends’ and can support people with dementia to participate in their activities.

The course began in April and finishes next week, on Wednesday, May 17, during the national Dementia Awareness Week, and covers exercise and dementia, reminiscence and dementia, organising sessions and venues for people with dementia and the national Dementia Friends programme, run by Alzheimer’s Society.

Glyn Harding, Principal Lecturer in Disability Sport at the University, said: “The course builds on a piece of work that we did in conjunction with The Albion Foundation to raise awareness about dementia and considers how sporting environments can be made more inclusive and stimulating.

“Dementia affects hundreds of thousands of people every year, and sport can be an excellent way to help those people live well and keep active. We asked the local sport community if they felt a course to inform practice and awareness would be of interest and had an over-whelming response.”

Those who have been involved so far include Worcestershire County Cricket Club, Kidderminster Harriers Football Club, Hereford Football Club, The University of the Third Age, various local golf clubs, Disability Sport Worcester, and Herefordshire and Worcestershire Sports Partnership.

Mr Harding said: “We have delivered three workshops so far with the fourth and final one taking place during the national Dementia Awareness Week. We aimed to make them informative, useful and importantly give participants the confidence that when faced with a member of the club showing signs of dementia that they could respond in a caring manner. If the course participants can influence a small number of their Club members to stay active and stimulated then the project will be worthwhile.”