Sport England wants to “transform the way the sport and physical activity sector thinks, acts and talks about dementia” after partnering with the Alzheimer’s Society, according to CEO Tim Hollingsworth.
He was speaking at the launch of the Society’s first Dementia-Friendly Sport and Physical Activity Guide in London this week.
The guide has been developed in partnership between the two organisations with input from the sports sector and people living with dementia. It aims to support, and empower people who are living with dementia – of which there are 850,000 in the UK – to lead active lives and remain independent for as long as possible, as well as educating individuals and organisations so they have a better knowledge of the condition and how it affects people.
As well as leisure centres, sports clubs and gyms, the guide can also be used by any individual or group looking to deliver physical activity such as sports coaches, personal trainers, physiotherapist and occupational therapists or community leaders.
The Sport England CEO said: “We want to transform the way the sport and physical activity sector thinks, acts and talks about dementia – with every leisure centre, community hall and sports club equipped with the resources to meet the needs of those living with the condition.
“Whether it’s a leisure facility management team, reception desk staff, an exercise professional leading a class, community coaches, or volunteers, we need them to make small changes needed to support people affected by dementia to get active and keep active.
“Defeating dementia won’t happen overnight, but until that day, we must all pull together to create a dementia-friendly society and that is why I’m proud to support this guide and commend the sport and physical activity sector for uniting against dementia.”
Alzheimer’s Society CEO Jeremy Hughes added: “We need the whole sector to unite against dementia by committing to the actions outlined in the guide and make employees Dementia Friends, so no-one has to face dementia alone.”
The guide is part of Sport England's National Lottery-funded partnership with the Richmond Group of charities, bringing together 10 of the biggest charities in health to deliver projects to help people with long-term health conditions to get active.
To find out more about the guide and how to get involved, visit: alzheimers.org.uk/sport