Mansfield Town Football in the Community are delighted to report that the ‘Active Minds’ Project is creating a safe and secure environment for those struggling with social isolation, living with mental illness or living with Dementia.
As Football in the Community celebrates thirty years of Community engagement, they are delighted to be taking in part in the EFL’s Day of Disability, celebrating the excellent results of the weekly ‘Active Minds’ project.
Started in October 2018, the project works regularly with around twenty participants per week, and gives those facing social isolation, suffering from mental health issues or living with Dementia a safe haven to make new friends and enjoy a range of positive activities, including indoor and outdoor sport.
Marking the EFLs Day of Disability today [Tuesday 3rd December], participants and their loved ones have been speaking about the impact ‘Active Minds’ has on their Mental Health and wellbeing.
Carol Wright is the wife of long term attendee Peter and believes the sessions have helped to transform his Mental Health in the fight against Dementia.
She said “Since the group began a year ago he’s only missed two sessions through holiday, it’s his highlight of the week. He gets up a totally different person on a Friday morning and when we go away from here [the sessions] he goes flat again.
“People don’t believe the difference in him so it’s well worth it [attending] – he worked at the club as a steward for two decades and apart from watching the games, this is the main thing in his life.
“That sounds sad as he’s got grandchildren & family, he loves them of course, but this just makes such a difference to him.”
Mick Walker, 80, was diagnosed with a form of mixed Vascular Dementia in December 2018 and has been attending the sessions for ten months – “I really enjoy the company, being with the lads and having someone different to talk to” Said Mick
“The wife and I used to watch the games from the North Stand during our youth, so coming back brings back lots of happy memories.
“Everyone here is trying to help us I’ve made lots of new friends, it’s really good for all of us – all of the staff are brilliant, I really appreciate how they’re trying to help us with the variety of activities they put on.
“It gives us all something to do, something to talk about and really look forward too – coming here means you’re not sat at home shut down”
Norma Walker, Mick’s wife, has been stunned by the difference in the group has made on Mick “He really needs this session to keep his brain active, we met at 16 and have been married 61 years now and it kills me inside to see how the Dementia has taken its toll – he lives for Friday’s and to be honest, so do I, because he lights back up.
“Friday is his day, any other day he doesn’t like and he becomes depressed – he loves it here. It gives him a meaning to get up and come out, and as for me? Well I couldn’t be more grateful that this group exists, I honestly have no idea what I’d do without it”
Macauley Short, Football in the Community’s Disability Inclusion Officer, added “Not every disability is visible and as a community scheme we feel it’s important to highlight the importance of that. Our sessions are designed to be inclusive and engaging, and in both our Active Minds Chat and Sports sessions, we’ve seen a vast change in participants from their very first session.
“It’s OK to not be OK, it’s OK to seek help and that’s exactly what we are here for – everyone who attends feels a part of a family, they feel part of a group who look out for and care for each other.”
Active Minds is open for anyone living with Dementia, those caring for anyone living dementia, or those with any form of mental illness or suffering from social isolation. Sessions take place at the One Call Stadium every Friday 10am to 12noon and are FREE to attend. Active Minds ‘Chat’ is an indoor session aimed more towards the elderly, unable to do more physical sport, whilst Active Minds ‘Sport’ is an outdoor football based session. For further information, contact Football in the Community, in confidence on 01623 656 920.