University works with Plymouth Argyle to support fans living with dementia

Plymouth University is working alongside Plymouth Argyle Football Club to launch a range of initiatives to support fans living with the many forms of dementia.

The club is appealing to its Green Army and to anyone with a love of football to give their time as volunteers to help turn its plans into action and change lives.

In Plymouth, an estimated 3,000 people are living with one of the range of brain diseases that cause the symptoms known as ‘dementia’. A large number of those people have been passionate about football throughout their life and many have been lifelong supporters of Argyle.

However, because of the challenges they now face, they are at high risk of becoming isolated, losing confidence, feeling depressed and discarded.

Argyle chief executive Martyn Starnes said:

“We have become aware that many of our supporters living with dementia have stopped coming to Home Park because they feel the obstacles are too great. We don’t forget that these are fans who have given a great deal to the club over many years. We place a huge value on that. We also know that, with the right support, most would love to come back, to attend matches and support the team, and to be part of the Argyle family and community in other ways.”

A launch event is taking place this Thursday (February 11) between 6 and 8pm, hosted by the Green Taverners at Home Park - for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer or sponsor, it will be an opportunity to find out more.

Plymouth Argyle is also working with support from Alzheimer’s Society and local GPs and, in taking forward its plans, the club also hopes to promote a greater awareness and understanding of what dementia means in people’s lives.

The initiatives, already announced by the Club, include:

  • A regular ‘football café’ with activities focused on fun but also based on the latest research into maximising brain function and health;
  • Sponsored GP prescriptions offering tickets to supported match-day experiences at Home Park;
  • The opportunity to work as a senior advisor and to contribute valuable experience and skills to operations at the club and out in the community;
  • Helping the club to create match-day experiences built individually around anyone whose dementia challenges mean they need additional support;
  • The back-up needed to take part in existing club and community activities and social events.

Ian Sherriff, Academic Partnership Lead for Dementia at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, said:

“Plymouth University is very keen to provide its knowledge and expertise to Plymouth Argyle to support these innovative and immensely exciting initiatives and we are looking forwarding to seeing them in action. What Plymouth Argyle is setting out to achieve will provide an exceptional model, one that we hope other professional and amateur clubs throughout the UK will follow.”