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Published May 18, 2022

Dementia Action Week

The Club and Community Trust are marking the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week (DAW), which runs from the 16 May to 22 May 2022, through our support of Ipswich Dementia Action Alliance’s (IDAA) work to make Ipswich a dementia-friendly community.

Both the Club and Community Trust are members of the IDAA and, along with other local businesses and organisations, have committed to raise awareness of dementia, promote the work of the IDAA, undertake activities to help and support those living with dementia and work towards making Portman Road dementia-friendly and a safe and supportive environment for those living with dementia.

Town have twice been awarded with certificates of recognition for their support, contribution and commitment towards making Ipswich a dementia friendly community.  At the IDAA’s AGM last year, the Club’s supporter liaison officer, Liz Edwards was the proud recipient of the inaugural Roger Fern award for outstanding contribution.

Liz, who has recently become a Trustee of the IDAA, says ‘It is really important that those living with dementia continue to do the things that matter most to them for as long as possible.  This may include coming along to Portman Road, watching a football match, having the opportunity to share stories with others and getting involved in activities with others.  As well as the person with dementia it is also important to recognise that family, friends and carers are also living with dementia.  I am really pleased and privileged to be part of the team involved in making Portman Road a safe place for those living with dementia.’

Since becoming a member of the IDAA, the Club has held Dementia Friends information sessions for stewards and customer-facing staff.  These sessions provide an understanding of the needs and challenges facing those living with dementia and help staff and stewards to be better placed to provide appropriate assistance on a matchday and non-matchday.  Both the Club and Community Trust are pledging to hold further sessions to ensure that all customer facing staff increase their knowledge and awareness of dementia so that anyone visiting Portman Road with dementia can do so safely.

As well as the Dementia Friends information sessions, since joining the IDAA back in 2016, Town have hosted a number of reminiscence tea parties with guests chatting about ITFC whilst looking at old photographs and memorabilia.  These have also provided a chance for guests to meet and hear from ex-players and club archivist Pat Godbold, who has some great stories from her years working at the Club.  Unfortunately, due to the Covid pandemic we have had to postpone several planned tea parties but as soon as it is safe to do so we will be holding another reminiscence tea party at Portman Road for older fans, local care homes and memory cafes.

We have also dedicated a number of games to increasing awareness of dementia and in February 2019, the game against Sheffield Wednesday was designated a dementia-friendly game with a number of people living with dementia and their family and carers having tea and sandwiches in a suite before watching the game.  Just last season, the Community Trust welcomed staff and patients from the dementia ward of the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust Woodlands to the Burton Albion game.  The guests sat in the lower Magnus Group West Stand to watch the game and reminisced on years gone by.  During the 2022/23 season we will continue to provide experiences similar to these to ensure that fans living with dementia can continue to come along to matches.

Both the Club and Community Trust will continually be looking at other opportunities and activities for older fans, including those living with dementia, with the Trust set to make an announcement later this week on a project they are working on in conjunction with the IDAA.

If you would like to know more about the work that the Club and Community Trust are doing or if you are living with dementia or are a partner or carer of someone living with dementia who loves football and Ipswich Town and would like to attend a game please do get in touch.   You will also find Liz Edwards at the IDAA Market Stall outside the Suffolk Building Society in Ipswich Town Centre this Friday morning so do pop along and say hello.