A dementia football group near Bridgnorth is going from strength to strength, with members as old as 94 joining in and scoring goals.
Rory Smith, writing for the Shropshire Star explains more...
The dementia football group, which was established in 2017, is aimed at improving coordination, social skills, balance and mobility of people suffering from dementia.
Organised by George Buckley, a mental health nurse with more than 30 years experience and a passion for football, the sessions run for half an hour every two weeks at Halo Severn Centre in Highley.
The 55-year-old, who has worked at Bridgnorth and Ludlow Memory Service, said the benefits to members is clear to see.
Founder of the dementia football group
My knowledge of mental health conditions and love for the sport was a gap in the market I thought needed to be filled."
"The Severn Centre are great and let me use the hall for free. I wanted to give something back to the community and it's great to be able to do it in things I enjoy.
"It's clear to see it has such a positive impact, members that have been coming have improved mobility, balance and mood – it's also a great social opportunity for their family and carers to meet up."
Margaret Smith, wife of the club's oldest member, 94-year-old Eric Smith, said: "Eric's football with George has been a brilliant idea.
"He has always had a keen interest in football and the company with other members is great, especially as they also suffer with dementia.
"He enjoys his football outings so much and George is a great person doing a grand job."
The group is open to men and women suffering from dementia and new members are always encouraged to take part no matter their mobility.
Mike Corbett, one of the club's players who suffers from dementia, said: "The exercise helps keep you fit and your mind active.
"The social aspect is great, it beats watching daytime television and it really gives me something to look forward to every fortnight.
"He understands any limitations anyone in the group has and is always kind and encouraging. I look forward to all the new members who may come and give it a go."
For more information or to get involved, contact Halo Severn Centre on 01746860000 or George Buckley at firstname.lastname@example.org