DMU to help tackle loneliness and isolation through sporting memories

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is helping to combat loneliness and isolation in the local community by engaging with people through sporting memories.

Leicester City Football Club (LCFC) has launched ‘Then, Now and Forever’ in partnership with Leicester Ageing Better and DMU’s International Centre for Sports History and Culture to deliver community workshops to fans across Leicestershire.


Leicester City Community Trust will work with their partners to deliver a minimum of eight workshops at the King Power Stadium and 16 workshops in community settings.

The events will primarily target the club’s older fanbase and the programme aims to help people suffering from dementia, depression, social isolation and memory loss.

Students from DMU will volunteer at the events and academics DMU’s International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC) will remain involved as the project is rolled out.

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A launch event was held at King Power Stadium, with former Leicester City and England goalkeeper Peter Shilton sharing his sporting memories with around 100 fans during a 90-minute question and answer session.

Leicester City Football Club Community Manager Matt Bray explained: “This is all about fans sharing their memories and using sport as a way to evoke memories of the past.

“There are so many benefits it can bring. The stories that Peter told made people think about their own lives and what they were doing at that time. It’s a chance for people to forget about what might be going on in their life and just really enjoy it.”

This project continues the work of the Sporting Memories Network, a charity supporting people experiencing dementia, depression and isolation by engaging them in social activities and helping them to recall memories of watching or playing sport.

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DMU’s International Centre for Sports History and Culture has had a long relationship with Sporting Memories and helped to introduce the network to LCFC, as well as writing letters of support for funding from the Premier League.

Professor Martin Polley, Director of the ICSHC, represented DMU to introduce the project at the launch event.

He said: “It’s all about impact, we’ve got this fantastic world-leading Centre for Sports History and Culture but it’s nothing unless we connect with the community.

“Work like this helps to bring history and memory into everyday life and brings health benefits and community benefits. It is a really fantastic project and we’re delighted to be involved.”

Matt Bray added: “It’s really positive to be working with DMU. A number of students are involved in supporting the programme and DMU has some resources that will be great to link in with. It’s a massive partnership that we want to grow as the project develops.”

Posted on Tuesday 5th February 2019

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