Alzheimer’s Society will work with The Football Association over the next two seasons as The FA’s official charity partner. They aim to use the power of football “to change the lives of people affected by dementia”.
The choice of charity involved a competitive application process.
The partnership will be launched on Saturday 7 August at The FA Community Shield between Leicester City and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.
There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. For many the past year has been particularly hard, experiencing isolation, missing activities, and losing routines that are crucial to maintaining independence.
The FA will work closely with the dementia charity to raise funds for its support services, such as its Dementia Connect support line. Alzheimer’s Society’s services have been used more than 5.5 million times since March 2020 and the first lockdown, and have never been more needed”.
The partnership will include:
- The FA and local football clubs referring employees, players, former players, and fans to the charity for dedicated dementia support.
- The FA’s employees being offered the chance to volunteer for Alzheimer’s Society.
- raising greater understanding of dementia among the footballing community.
The partner organisations aim for a world in which “no football player, former player or fan across the nation faces dementia alone”.
The partnership will also create a network of dementia friendly facilities and upskill The FA’s employees, so people living with dementia and their families can return to and stay connected to the game they love without fear.
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The partnership will benefit from Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme, the largest social movement around dementia, “changing the way society thinks, acts, and talks about dementia and growing to over 3.4 million members in the UK”.
A benchmark for other sports
The charity hopes that this will set a benchmark for other sports to follow.
The partnership will work alongside the pioneering Sport United Against Dementia campaign, which is uniting all sports for the first time to change the landscape of dementia.
Involving governing bodies and leading figures across football, rugby and cricket, as well as major broadcasters, Sport United Against Dementia seeks to provide hope for future generations by funding critical research and transforming the way sport supports past and present players and fans affected by dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Sir Geoff Hurst said:
“This partnership has the potential to change the landscape of dementia in football on a massive scale.
“Too many of my colleagues from the unforgotten team of ‘66 have been affected by dementia – a group of remarkable men. I will never forget the memory of us all doing a lap of honour at Wembley and walking up to the Royal Box to face the Queen, trophy in hand. But the reality is that Wembley could be filled ten times over with people living with dementia in the UK, with millions more lives affected…
“By working with The FA, the charity can raise much-needed funds and ensure that the millions of football followers and their families know they don’t have to face dementia alone.”
Kate Lee, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, commented:
“It’s been brilliant for all of us to enjoy an incredible few weeks of football after the year we’ve all had. For so many fans and former players living with dementia, that passion and common interest is their form of escapism after a diagnosis. Our partnership with The FA is a huge step in changing how people experience dementia within the sporting industry and couldn’t have come sooner.”
- Team England Footballers’ Charity launches new campaign for its charity partners (24 April 2010)
- Footballers and giving in the face of coronavirus (16 April 2020)
- Footballers take part in Shoot For Love challenge (11 April 2016)