For football fans, the words of Rab Douglas (used as the title of a recent Dundee FC book) certainly ring true, It’s All About The Memories. While younger Dundee fans remember the days of Caniggia, Caballero and Nemsadze, some fans fondly remember the days of Billy Pirie, Gordon Strachan and Thomson Allan. For others the names of eleven players are ones that would invoke emotions, names like Gilzean, Penman, Cox and of course the current Honorary president, Pat Liney.
As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Dees winning the league title, Tuesday’s Community visitors are ones who can benefit from the documentation of days from yesteryear such as the one at Muirton Park 50 years ago. The Football Reminiscence Project, which is in the process of being set up in Dundee after pilot schemes proved to be successful, is one where sufferers of Alzheimer’s are engaged in a topic we all love, football. Many of these people will have spent a fair amount of their Saturdays the same way we do, and whether it was watching Dundee or not, watching football is sure to provide anyone with a lot of memories.
The pilot schemes of the Football Reminiscence Project have shown that for some, these memories can be accessed, with the aid of pictorial stimulus (showing an Alzheimer’s sufferer photographs of the team he supported, from when they supported them the most) will bring back memories for people who can have problems in accessing memories.
Pat Liney has himself agreed to be a part of this project, and having attended a few meetings, was keen to get the project up and running as soon as possible, and to this end allowed access to some photographs from his time at Dens as part of the Championship winning side.
Tonight, the Football Reminiscence Project arrives at Dens, as it attempts to set up a database of footballing photographs based around the two clubs in Dundee. Any supporters with old photographs of football, obviously in this case it would generally be pictures of Dundee FC, have been invited to bring them along to be scanned into a digital format, these pictures will then be returned to the owner. These photographs will be made available to the Football Reminiscence Project team all over Scotland, as a database is built up involving every team in the country.
Michael White of the Football Reminiscence Project explained exactly how the project works, "For a number of years, certain groups have been using football as a medium to engage with men who have been diagnosed with dementia. With the intent of giving some structure to these projects, the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park applied successfully to the Heritage Lottery for £25,000 for a pilot project.
"They worked with groups in Prestwick, Aberdeen, Falkirk and Edinburgh (Hibernian Football Club) which were already engaged in this work. The project ran for six months with visits to the museum and in the settings where the men lived - using memorabilia, old kit, photographs and old programmes to stimulate discussion. Each of the men created something to keep - perhaps a scrapbook or a folder. The project was evaluated by Glasgow Caledonian University with the findings being that the experience had had a dramatic beneficial effect.
"Alzheimer Scotland, impressed by its impact, offered the Scottish Football Museum a further £25,000 to develop it further. They are now working to develop a simple model which will be readily transferable and locally sustainable.
"The project ties in well with the Scottish Government's recently published National Dementia Strategy, with its emphasis on personalisation, rights and dignity. The key role of football historians, who are passionate about their subject, is critical. The pack which participants produce is theirs and could potentially be a very useful resource for staff working with them. For the people with dementia, they receive the full attention of someone who provides a consistent presence.
"Not only does the football theme stimulate memories and communication, but it also will link to other related memories. Families and carers are afforded glimpses of the person that they may have lost to varying degrees. This gives them a huge boost in their caring tasks and day-to-day responsibilities. For staff in services, the project will provide an extra service which makes no demand on finances or time, and which will produce a resource able to be used over and over again."
The Football Reminiscence Project will be at Dens, in the Penman lounge from 6pm and in the concourse in the Bobby Cox stand from around 7pm for anyone with any photographs they bring along and are happy to have scanned. Any photographs brought in will be treated with the utmost care, and can be scanned in only a few minutes before being returned to the owner. For anyone with a scanner at home, the pictures can be scanned and emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org, or can be brought to Dens on disk.