Douglas Kenney has volunteered at a Football Memories support group for almost 5 years now. This is what Memory Walk means to him.
"I followed the early stages of the development of the Football Memories programme in the press. I later visited a friend in a care home who was living with dementia and I noticed that, though he had little short term memory and found conversation difficult, whenever the subject turned to football he would come to life and his recall of matches and players was quite extraordinary. Sadly, another friend of mine passed away with a diagnosis of dementia and his wife wanted to make a donation to Alzheimer Scotland. I decided to combine my passion for football and a concern for the problems that folks living with dementia and their carers face and used the donation to start a Football Memories support group in my local area. After some initial training we held our first session at Woodhill Evangelical Church in Bishopbriggs in October 2016.
From the outset the Football Memories group in Bishopbriggs was a success with up to 20 people attending the sessions and the positive effect they were having was clear. Living with dementia can be a real struggle, I have witnessed first-hand the enjoyment the Football Memories sessions can bring. The members have a relaxed time enjoying each other’s company and are stimulated by reliving “the good old days” of Scottish football. Carers can also enjoy an hour or two respite to have some free time, run errands or chat to each other over a coffee in another room. Us have a great time too, discussing the beautiful game while being able to offer a little support and encouragement to the members. Having started in Scotland, the concept of Football Memories is being exported around the world and is now recognised by UEFA as project worthy of support.
Since the Covid 19 pandemic arrived we have not been able to meet in person but we have continued to hold sessions over Zoom, it’s not ideal but this has allowed us to keep in touch with the members.
I am taking part in the Memory Walk to raise funds for the group and for all the other varied activities organised by Alzheimer Scotland. For my walk, I have planned a route around Glasgow, stopping by many of the football grounds that come up in conversation during our Football Memories sessions. All in all it will be around 16 miles!"
We wish Douglas the best of luck as he takes on this challenge!
Memory Walks across Scotland have so far raised over £1 million since they began. It is only through our dedicated fundraisers that we can deliver the extensive range of innovative support services, like football memories, that we bring to local communities.
That’s why we're asking you to join us on the 18 and 19 September to walk and fundraise with friends and family. This year it's your walk, your route, your way. Join us over the event weekend in your own special Memory Walk location and help us make sure nobody faces dementia alone.