Exeter City FC supporting people living with dementia

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Exeter City FC supporting people affected by dementia

As part of Exeter City Football Club’s commitment to the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance (EDAA) the One Game One Community match event was held at St James Park. The event enabled over 40 people living with dementia and their families to enjoy complimentary tickets to the Exeter v Luton Town game.

Gina Awad who leads EDAA delivered two Dementia Friends sessions to staff at the Club, one in the Soring and the second as part of #TeamDementiaFriends campaign. The Club were inspired to go the extra mile recognising the need for further dementia awareness in the community.

A summary of the event included; all the players sporting t-shirts for their warm up illustrating “working towards a dementia friendly city’, EDAA had a stand in Red Square raising awareness, use of the community Hospitality box for specially invited guests, a feature in the programme and a bucket collection.

In addition at half time Exeter City Council officially joined as the latest members of the alliance, honouring their commitment and action towards a dementia friendly city.

One attendee bought her 90 year old father to the match and encapsulated her feelings, she said

“It was such a lovely day yesterday. My father cannot remember how long it is since he last saw a football match, but he thinks it is at least 60 years. It is the only time my father and my son have had ‘man time’ together as well. For me, the day is a memory that I will always want to retain, along with the photos and the Exeter City FC hat I bought my father. He simply loved it every moment of the day, the hot dog, the hot chocolate, the game and spending time with family. My son, the football fan, is now trying to get the rest of the family along to a game to enjoy the atmosphere, so maybe Exeter City FC will have some new fans as well. Thank you for making a magical day for us all”.

Gina said “we have received some truly heartfelt responses as a result of the event and this illustrates how meaningful our work really is for people living with dementia in the community and their families. What was wonderful to see was the uptake from local care homes and their residents a focus that felt important to pursue”.

All that was needed for a perfect end to the day was a goal from Exeter City but it wasn’t meant to be!

ECC signs up to EDAA

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At half time at today’s match between Exeter City FC and Luton Town, Cllr Emma Morse and myself took to the pitch at St James Park to formally announce that Exeter City Council is now a member of Exeter Dementia Action Alliance [EDAA\ and is working towards becoming a Dementia Friendly Council.

The match itself provided the club and the Football in the Community [FitC] programme  the opportunity to show support for the Kick It Out campaign funded by the The Football Association (FA), the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the Premier League and The English Football League (EFL).

The aim of the Kick It Out campaign is to raise the awareness of equality, inclusion and diversity policies and practices in football, and this season ECFC and FitC are using this opportunity to raise the profile of their partnership of EDAA and promote the amazing work undertaken by the Alliance.

EDAA hosted a reception in the Dick Pym Suite where Emma and myself meet with members of the Club, and people with dementia with their carers.

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EDAA reception in Dick Pym Suite

The players of both teams wore special Kick It Out T-shirts – both to warm up in and to return to the pitch for kick-off. ECFC were in black ones and LTFC wore yellow ones – and the players gave their T-shirts to [mainly young] members of the crowd.

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EDAA held a bucket collection before and after the match, as well as at half-time…

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Some of the EDAA bucket collection team

…and around 40 people either living with dementia or their family carer were guests of EDAA. They thoroughly enjoyed their time watching the game – Becky in particular was extremely vocal in her suport of City!

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Guests of EDAA at the match

Programme Note:

Exeter Dementia Action Alliance (EDAA) is a group of people and organisations who believe a dementia friendly Exeter needs greater community awareness and opportunities to live well with dementia.

We are very grateful for the support of our many members which include Exeter City FC, Football in the Community and Exeter City Supporters Trust. Our members have made a commitment to take practical actions that help build a dementia friendly community.

At its heart, a dementia-friendly community is a caring community. A place where individuals are aware of each other and the challenges they face in day-to-day life; a place where organisations and businesses build an awareness of dementia into their services and environment; and a place where carers of people living with dementia are supported both practically and emotionally.

One of the best ways to build a dementia-friendly city is for people to attend a free Dementia Friends session. The sessions include learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help.

Gina Awad, who leads the Alliance, highlights the tremendous support received to date. “We are proud to share that our membership comprises a number of sectors from across the city. The response to our aspirations towards a Dementia Friendly Exeter has been inspiring and empowered businesses and individuals to take practical action.

“One of our members the Exeter Picturehouse were keen to collaborate with us and have introduced Dementia Friendly Screenings as a regular feature to their programme producing really positive outcomes for people living with dementia and their families. The community spirit and commitment to support our cause has been heartening and we look forward to galvanising more partnerships in the coming months.”

Today we are proud to welcome Exeter City Council as our newest member and thank them for their support.

Councillor Bull, Lead Councillor for Communities and Neighbourhoods said. “I believe that Exeter City Council has a duty to raise awareness and help in any way it can.

“So today I am delighted to announce that the City Council has taken the next step and become a member of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance. We are already looking at ways to make signage around the council’s Customer Service Centre more accessible to people with dementia, and there is now a group of councillors meeting on a regular basis to look at ways to become a Dementia Friendly Council, and in time make Exeter a Dementia Friendly City.

“I can reveal that the council will be working to deliver a number of actions, including:

– continuing to raise awareness of dementia by arranging Dementia Friends sessions for staff, councillors and contractors

– training two Dementia Champions, to run information sessions and promoting dementia awareness with the Council

– finding ways to make our car parks more dementia friendly.

“These actions are just the start – we will be looking  to add to the Action Plan in time.

“We are proud that Exeter City Council is now committed to making the council, and the city, more Dementia Friendly.”

Free membership of the EDAA is available to organisations committed to practical change. To find out how to join the Alliance go to www.exeterdementia.org.uk or contact us exeterdaa@outlook.com.

For direct support the Alzheimer’s Society Devon Support Service provides a range of support services for people with dementia, their families and Carers. They can be contacted on 0300 123 2029 or devon@alzheimers.org.uk

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Further reading:
Local Government Association/Innovations in Dementia: Dementia friendly communities – guidance for councils [July 2015]