UEFA seal of approval for class that started in Stenhousemuir
Aleksander Čeferin, the European football governing body’s president, said: “I’m delighted that Football Memories is a UEFA EURO 2020 legacy project. It is an excellent initiative which gives so many people the opportunity to engage with football, unlock memories and share their love of our beautiful game.”
And it all started with a group meeting in Johnstone Avenue, Stenhousemuir 11 years ago. The groups discussed past football experiences of people with dementia and used images, discussions, memorabilia and even smells to evoke positive memories.
Now a commemorative deck of European Legends playing cards has been launched at Hampden Park to celebrate the scheme’s success with classes now ranging across sporting disciplines and countries including Brazil, Holland, Spain and America.
The cards will be shared with more than 250 Football Memories groups across Scotland, stretching from Stornoway to Stranraer, and can be used to create a personalised Hall of Fame, select a ‘Legends XI’ or simply reminisce about a golden age of football. Around 2,500 people take part in the programme every year.
Ian Maxwell, the Scottish FA Chief Executive, said: “We have already witnessed the incredible impact the Football Memories project has had across Scotland and this legacy project has the potential to help so many more people.
“These special cards will enable many people suffering from dementia and wider social issues to think about the famous faces and moments from tournaments of years gone by in a year where Glasgow is a UEFA EURO 2020 host city.”
This summer is the 60th anniversary of the European Championship, and as a result 60 special cards, including players and managers who have featured at the tournament from 1960-1990, can be used to discuss the international greats of European football.
The deck also includes two former Scotland internationals, Denis Law and Danny McGrain. Other famous names to feature include the likes of Johann Cruyff, Michel Platini, Lothar Matthäus and Sir Bobby Charlton.
The special European Legends cards not only aims to help Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers but also community groups tackling social isolation and mental health issues.
The Football Memories Scotland project is a partnership between Alzheimer Scotland and the Scottish Football Museum. It is the oldest national football reminiscence programme in the world, supporting volunteers to spend time with football fans who are living with dementia, other forms of memory loss or who are experiencing loneliness, depression and social isolation. The groups use old football images, artefacts and sensory objects to stimulate memories and encourage discussions.
Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, added: “I’m delighted to help officially launch the commemorative deck of Football Memories cards and to highlight the excellent work done by this project. It’s fantastic to see this legacy project of UEFA EURO 2020 roll out across Scotland, as Hampden Park, Glasgow and the whole country prepares to play hosts to this unique tournament.”
Falkirk district Football memories group is held on the last Monday of every month, from 3.15pm to 4.30pm. Call 559480 or email [email protected] to book a place.
There are also groups in Bo’ness and Kincardine.