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Football therapy for young and old at The Lakes
Tuesday 6th March 2018 @ 13:16 by Tom Greggan
Dukinfield News Tameside

Football fans young and old came together at the Lakes Care Home in Dukinfield this week thanks to the National Football Museum’s Storybox project.

As part of the project, residents often make trips to the museum in Manchester, while staff at the museum also make regular visits to the Lakes, engaging residents in creative sessions involving art and music.

On Tuesday, they were joined by students from Thomas Ashton School who worked alongside the elderly residents as they designed their own football shirts, wore hats and scarves and sang along to classic football songs.

Louise Rutherford, the Age Friendly Programme Co-Ordinator at the National Football Museum, is in charge of the Storybox project and works alongside the Lakes’ Senior Activities Co-Ordinator Tracy Hannible to deliver the sessions. She was delighted to see local students get involved.

“The participants have a really positive experience,” she said. “It’s a chance for them to get moving, singing and hopefully just improve their wellbeing. They have a really good time.

“It’s fantastic today having the students help out. It’s really good to see the students and the older residents mixing, helping each other out and supporting each other to do the activities. It’s good for their confidence to come to the session and help out.”

The project was just as rewarding for the young students as it was for the care home’s residents. Thomas Ashton teacher, Kim McDonough, believes it’s an experience that her students are lucky to have. She said: “It’s just great for the kids to come along for that inter-generational link and working with the elderly.

“The kids really loved it and it was lovely to see them engage so well. Sometimes, it’s quite difficult for them to engage with others but they feel accepted here and it’s really nice. We’ll definitely be back!”

The Storybox sessions, which are specifically designed for people with dementia, showcased the universal appeal of football. Tim Desmond, the CEO of the Football Museum says their community work is key.

“It’s really important because we see ourselves as supporting the football family,” he said. “You can see those people today enjoying themselves and bringing back memories; that’s what it’s all about. I enjoyed today; it’s sad in some ways but really positive in others. It’s good to see them all enjoy it; it shows what football can do.”