County FAs join crucial support programme with Alzheimer’s Society

Monday 19 Dec 2022

As part of our partnership with Alzheimer’s Society, we have launched permanent support schemes in County FAs, offering help and hope to anyone who has either been diagnosed with dementia or caring for a loved one.

To date, 20 County FAs have set up referral pathways into Alzheimer’s Society’s services - the important initiative aims to make the process of getting dedicated support easily and swiftly for past and present players, managers, referees, support staff and their families.

Participants will benefit from personalised advice and practical and emotional support from Alzheimer’s Society’s frontline specialists, to help them live well with the condition and better prepare for the future. Alzheimer’s Society’s services have been used more than 4.2 million times in the past year, proving to be a lifeline for thousands.

This dedicated pathway has already been successfully used and the opportunity for further County FAs to sign up to the initiative will continue after the start of the new year. 

Chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, Kate Lee, said: “Great sport should be unforgettable - we want to help make sure those who are part of the beautiful game are not sidelined due to their diagnosis and can continue to live fulfilled and meaningful lives by receiving the right support from day one. 

“No-one should face a dementia diagnosis alone, nor suffer in silence, which is why we’re proud to be the FA’s official charity partner and working closely with County FAs up and down the country to embed our services and make sure thousands more have somewhere to turn to during one of the most frightening and toughest times in their lives.”

County FAs who have set up referral pathways with Alzheimer’s Society are: Suffolk FA; London FA; Northumberland FA; Cheshire FA; Middlesex FA; Cumberland FA; Army FA; Birmingham FA; Surrey FA; Staffordshire FA; Lancashire FA; Nottinghamshire FA; Norfolk FA; Manchester FA; Durham FA; Bedfordshire FA; RAF FA; Sussex FA; Essex FA and Cambridgeshire FA.

Our director of football development, James Kendall, added: “We have seen through our County FA network and their loved ones just how debilitating dementia can be, which reinforces the vital need for this dedicated referral pathway.

“Welfare is at the heart of everything we do, which is why through this dedicated dementia support, it is important that our participants and their loved ones have access to the specialist support and guidance provided by Alzheimer’s Society and its team of frontline experts at the earliest opportunity.”

Sussex FA project manager, Paul Saunders, added: “The partnership with Alzheimer’s Society will enable us to better support our participants when concerns are raised. 

“My mother had dementia, so I completely understand the difficulties families face. I completed Alzheimer’s Society training and wanted to lead on this programme to increase awareness so anyone in the Sussex football sphere knows where to turn if they need support for themselves, friends or relatives.

“Based on my own experience, having support from people who really understand the disease and can empathise is vital when navigating through someone’s dementia journey”.

Alzheimer’s Society’s two-season partnership with the FA aims to raise crucial funds and awareness to support fans and players affected by dementia. As well as transforming the way we support people affected by dementia, the partnership will raise crucial funds for support services and increase understanding of dementia, helping fans affected by dementia remain part of the game.

Alzheimer’s Society will also work with the FA to provide research expertise and ensure we're prioritising and funding world-class research to best protect players for generations to come. Alzheimer’s Society has also directly funded its own research with former footballers and rugby players, as part of the PREVENT study.

To find out more about Alzheimer’s Society’s work with sport, including its partnership with the FA, visit alzheimers.org.uk/unforgettable-sport

Anyone worried about their memory can download the Alzheimer’s Society symptoms checklist, endorsed by the Royal College of GPs, to support people to get a diagnosis. 

By FA Staff