World Alzheimer’s Day: Transforming Lives at Worcestershire FA’s County Sports Ground
Thanks to the Connections Café at Worcestershire FA’s County Sports Ground, people with Alzheimer's, dementia and memory loss are being supported to get active in a safe and inclusive environment.
Run by Worcestershire FA at their state-of-the-art County Sports Ground facility - built with the help of a £1m grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation – the Connections Café is designed to keep participants socially active and provide them with the opportunity to share experiences, facilitate conversations and boost confidence.
Sessions consist of a wide range of activities for users to get involved in such as football, music, dancing, chair-based exercise, games, crafts, cake decorating and more. Participants are also given the chance to relive footballing memories through memorabilia and guest speakers.
Café organiser, Melvin Dulak, said: “The Connections Café is set up so people have a purpose. It gives them social interaction and makes them happy. Those with Alzheimer's, dementia and memory loss who come to the café are talking to people which helps to stimulate their brain.”
Having started out with eight participants, the Connections Café now has more than 40 attendees. And it’s not just had an impact for those with Alzheimer's, dementia and memory loss. It has made a huge difference to their families, friends and carers too, giving them respite and quiet areas for conversation.
“It’s a 24/7 thing looking after my husband but when I come to the Connections Café, I can have a break and the staff are great so it really lifts my spirits.”
“It’s a 24/7 thing looking after my husband but when I come to the Connections Café, I can have a break and the staff are great so it really lifts my spirits,” said Lesley Reeve, who cares for her husband and regularly attends the Café.
The Connections Café takes place in the community room at Worcestershire FA’s County Sports Ground. The site has benefited from significant Football Foundation investment, receiving a £1m grant in May 2019 for a floodlit full-size 3G football turf pitch (FTP) and a new changing pavilion incorporating office and community space.
The ground’s grass pitches have also been improved with the help of a £24.4K grant towards a small tractor, mower and a quadraplay to maintain their grass surfaces.
These top-quality facilities host an extensive community football programme. From youth and adult grassroots football to Player and Referee Development Centres, as well as Neuro Walking Football to support individuals with neurological conditions, the County Sports Ground is a hub of activity for local people.
Worcester City FC, who play at Step 5 of the National League System, also call the site home thanks to more than £100K of investment from the Premier League Stadium Fund towards changing rooms, new floodlights and a covered stand.
Worcestershire FA CEO, Nichola Trigg, said: “We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to develop this location for the benefit of football and the local community. It’s testament to the vision of our hard-working and dedicated staff that so many programmes and events are held here – we’re all particularly proud of the Connections Café and the support it provides to our community.”
About World Alzheimer’s Day
World Alzheimer's Day (21 September 2023) is an opportunity to raise awareness, educate, encourage support of and demystify dementia. Globally, dementia is one of the biggest challenges we face, with nearly 50 million people living with dementia worldwide, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.
For further information and support, please visit: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/