Lord’s Cricket Ground, the home of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), is working towards becoming a dementia friendly sports venue. All staff members, including everyone in the senior management team, have attended a ‘Dementia Friends’ information session. And, the catering supervisors, stewards and volunteers have been provided with bespoke customer service training, equipping them to respond in a supportive and understanding way to people experiencing difficulties due to memory loss and other cognitive disabilities.

It is a privilege for me to be working with Marylebone Cricket Club. I have been engaged for the last two years in providing dementia training for stewards and volunteers, and my Dementia Pathfinders colleague, Aubrey Maasdorp, delivered a dementia awareness workshop to set the season in motion last week.

The Alzheimer’s Society has played a key role in helping Lord’s to achieve its ambition to become dementia friendly and inclusive, and the charity Sporting Memories has an on-going involvement in facilitating monthly reminiscence sessions for local people living with dementia and their carers.

Yvonne Muigua

Yvonne Muigua is the Community Development Assistant for Marylebone Cricket Club. Yvonne and her manager, Ricky Reynolds, have been instrumental in creating cultural changes at Lord’s and improving the knowledge and skill base of the frontline staff. An inclusive and compassionate approach makes people living with dementia and their families feel welcomed and accepted.

Among the initiatives designed to provide added help for people with dementia and their carers is a dementia friendly information leaflet featuring basic information about Lord’s, details of who to contact in an emergency, plus an easy to follow geographical map of the ground. People with dementia and their carers (on request) are issued with an orange coloured lanyard, which has a special pocket for the leaflet, the match tickets and the carer’s contact information (in case the person with dementia gets lost). The lanyard is a discreet way for stewards and volunteers to recognise that someone has dementia and might need some extra help.

In addition, Marylebone Cricket Club hosts special matches for older people and people living with dementia on an annual basis:

*The Memories Match, in partnership with Middlesex Cricket Club, which, this year, will take place on Sunday, 13th May 2018

*Silver Sunday, held on the first Sunday in October, featuring afternoon tea, a tour of the ground and an intergenerational cricket match involving MCC staff, members and local schools.

Silver Sunday is a national initiative: at Lord’s it is a joint venture with Westminster City Council, founded originally by Cllr Christabel Flight, Older Person’s Champion. Cllr Flight sees the event as a key way to tackle loneliness: "Some people don’t like to admit they’re feeling lonely and Silver Sunday is a positive way to do something about it by meeting new people. You’re never too old to try something new and Silver Sunday is the perfect opportunity."

MCC is also an active member of the Westminster Dementia Alliance

Here is a lovely news clip featuring the work of Sporting Memories and the reminiscence group at Lord’s Cricket ground: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xAkA49iqOA&feature=youtu.be

If you are aware of initiatives involving sports clubs and venues aimed to improving accessibility and providing added support for people living with dementia, please do let us know. Perhaps you are actively involved in raising awareness of dementia yourself, providing ‘Dementia Friends’ information sessions or promoting inclusive customer service with a local organisation? We are keen to hear about approaches designed to help people living with dementia to remain independent and connected in their local neighbourhoods? Please do get in touch, you can contact me at askbarbara@unforgettable.org  I would be happy to feature your projects in future blogs or you might like to write a guest blog yourself. Let’s spread the good news and keep the dialogue going!