The Sporting Memories Foundation is launching a ground-breaking campaign this weekend at Championship matches, to support former players and older fans living with dementia.
Pitch side LED adverts will run throughout December at selected fixtures, encouraging fans, clubs and players to ‘#JoinTheSquad’ to help tackle dementia, including this weekend's fixture between PNE and Queens Park Rangers.
The campaign is aiming to raise funds and to recruit volunteers to support the 120 free clubs run by the charity and to open more weekly clubs across the country.
The Foundation has seen an increasing number of former footballers attend their clubs, which use the history and heritage of sport to help attendees reminisce, remain physically active and to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Preston North End Community and Education Trust run weekly Sporting Memories sessions and full details of those can be found here.
The pitchside adverts have been made possible by Project11, global sports marketing agency, whose staff team nominated Sporting Memories Foundation as one of the charities to support this December.
Alan Shearer CBE, DL said, "Since Football, Dementia and Me was screened in November 2017, much more is now known about the risks of developing dementia players face.
"It remains my belief that football must begin to look after former players living with dementia and put an end to this sense that once you're done with playing, you can be put on the scrapheap.
"The progress made by Sporting Memories Foundation and their partners in supporting former players and older fans living with dementia each week is encouraging to see.
"The clubs rely on volunteers and donations. I'd urge any fans to Join the Squad and support their local Sporting Memories session to get involved and to help with fundraising to support the existing sessions and open more of these."
Match of the Day commentator Guy Mowbray said: "As a proud Patron of The Sporting Memories Foundation, I've seen first hand how these sessions are valued by those involved and the benefits it brings to both those living with dementia and their partners.
Great sporting moments can be wonderful connectors for individuals and groups of older sports fans. The charity's work relies on donations and volunteers, I really hope fans, players and clubs get behind the Join The Squad campaign.”
Find out more at www.thesmf.co.uk