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Dementia Awareness Day

15 March 2017

Support vital cause at home match later this month

Following the club’s partnership with Alzheimer’s Society, AFC Wimbledon will be staging a Dementia Awareness Day to coincide with the Southend United home game on Saturday 25 March.

Supporters can donate to this vital cause on the day as the club spreads the message about the battle to help Dementia sufferers.

Alzheimer’s Society teamed up with AFC Wimbledon recently as part of the Team Dementia Friends campaign to make the nation’s favourite sport more dementia-friendly.

Erik Samuelson, Ivor Heller, along with coaches, stewards and office workers, took a key step towards helping end the stigma surrounding dementia by becoming Dementia Friends.

In the first campaign of its kind, Alzheimer’s Society is working with football clubs across the nation to ensure that they are places where people with dementia and their carers feel understood and included and to tackle the social isolation the charity knows often follows a dementia diagnosis.

A Dementia Friends Information Session was delivered to staff and stewards at the club to help them understand what it’s like to live with dementia and the small ways they can support people on match day.

Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition so that people can feel involved and included in their communities and continue doing the things they love.

“It is really important that people living with dementia are able to continue doing the things they want to do, like supporting their football club, after a diagnosis. Speaking about the new campaign, Alzheimer’s Society Operations Manager for West London, Karen McCrudden said:

“Football clubs, which are right at the heart of our communities, can make a real difference to the lives of fans affected by dementia. By encouraging staff and fellow supporters become Dementia Friends, they will understand the small gestures they can make to help a person living with the condition feel supported, safe and understood. With an ageing population, it is now more important than ever that we all understand dementia.”

There are almost 2,000 people living with dementia within the borough of Merton, and around 1,000 people in Wimbledon alone. The borough was recently recognised as a Dementia Friendly Community and relaunched its Dementia Action Alliance (Wednesday 22 February). The Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Hub offers an integrated support package to people living with dementia in Merton and their carers. People are able to access memory services and support groups, as well as exercises classes and specialist healthcare, such as dentistry and podiatry.

Ivor Heller, Commercial Director at AFC Wimbledon, said: “We are pleased to be able to support Alzheimer’s Society in raising awareness of dementia within Wimbledon. Several of our former players have been affected by dementia, including Roy Law and Tommy McCready, so it is a cause close to our hearts.

“Football clubs are a hub for the local community and so we are in a unique position to be able to engage with such a large number of people. We are dedicated to supporting the health of our fans. We want to ensure that people living with dementia can continue to engage with the club and enjoy match days as they always have.”

There is an increasing focus on footballers who have developed dementia later in life, and the condition affects many household names. This includes World Cup winners Martin Peters and Nobby Stiles, as well as many footballers who made their name during the 1970s, such as former England international Stan Bowles.

 There are already 1.7 million Dementia Friends and Alzheimer’s Society wants to reach four million people by 2020. The charity is calling on football fans to show their support for Team Dementia Friends by watching a short video on the website and becoming a Dementia Friend.

  .https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/ For details about Team Dementia Friends go to