Every week, people in Watford with mild and moderate dementia head to Vicarage Road to attend Watford FC’s Golden Memories, one of the highlights of their week.
Golden Memories is delivered by the Watford FC Community Sports and Education Trust in partnership with the Watford Museum.
One of the people to benefit from the programme is former Watford player Walter Lees, who played for the club over eight years in the 1960s and 1970s.
He said: “If it wasn’t for the team, I would be stuck in the house. I really appreciate it. I don’t know if they realise the goodness they are doing for people in our situation.”
Walters partner, June Casey said: “For Walter it is the centre of his life. We end up dancing and singing and you go home feeling that was a really nice day. And you know you have another one to look forward to next week. Walter has begun to remember people’s names, he’s got to know people and he’s just brighter.”
The Magic Moments programme, funded by the Premier League and the Professional Footballers’ Association, uses a host of club memorabilia and magic moments to stimulate the senses and evoke personal memories.
Weekly sessions involve music, dancing, exercises, and games as well as visits from former players to give the guests and their carers an opportunity to socialise in a safe and familiar environment.
Hannah Foster, Watford CSE Trust older adults project officer said: “Often people with dementia feel very vulnerable, they feel forgotten, they feel lost. Coming here, they are treated like guests because they can then feel part of something special.”