Our reporter Chris Vickers an avid Manchester City fan has been to the Etihad Stadium to check out a programme by City in the Community (CITC) – Reminicity – which aims to support people in Manchester who live with mild to moderate forms of dementia.
The programme has proved to be overwhelmingly successful since it was launched as a six-week pilot during Dementia Awareness Week earlier in the year. It has helped people living with dementia enjoy social and physical activity, through the conduit of football and Manchester City, promoting active and engaged lifestyles in the face of the challenge’s dementia can bring.
Community Outreach Officer, Sean Dwyer said: “If the programme helps a little, both while they are here and at home, even just a little we are starting to achieve what are aim was with this programme.”
The project has also made use of the stadium’s Sensory Room, where the participants can experience the benefits of innovative technology built into the space. Physical activities as part of the programme include stadium walks and arts and crafts. And as a legacy benefit of the programme, it is hoped that CITC coaches will also be able to offer walking football to participants with dementia.
Listening in to the conversations it was clear that talking about favourite footballers of the past and sharing stories really benefitted the participants who are living with dementia – as well as visits from former City stars like Mike Summerbee and Alex Williams.
In one conversation a participant said: “Rodney Marsh was City’s Georgie Best”, to much nodding and reflection that the pair were often seen out together enjoying Manchester’s night life.
Another reminisced about ex-prisoner of war Bert Trautman, who famously played on with a broken neck in the 1956 FA Cup Final, a heroic German goalkeeper who settled in England at a traumatic time after the second world war and won people over.
He added: “Yes. I knew some Jewish people who gave their tickets back because they didn’t want a German in the team in those days.”
New participants are being welcomed to the programme, which now forms a key new offering, as part of CITC’s wider One City Disability outreach programme, using football to improve and enrich lives and communities in Manchester. No football fan could not feel a frisson of excitement upon seeing the pitch amid its formidable setting, or hearing ex-pros telling stories that take people back; sparking memories and triggering conversations.
Reminiscity is all about making full use of the splendid stadium and campus facilities, combining state of the art features with insights from stars and empathetic leadership from the CITC coaches and team: meeting, engaging, talking and reminiscing.
One City Disability provides opportunity for participants to take part in free football and sporting provision relevant to their specific disability, ensuring that participants across Greater Manchester have access to disability specific provision and education.
For more information on CITC visit www.mancity.com/community
PHOTOS: David McLenachan