14 July 2021

We are delighted to announce our partnership with charity Head for Change – at a time when support for former players living with dementia and their families is so desperately needed. 

We will be working together as a strong and unifying voice to provide emotional and practical supportHead for Change and Sporting Memories Foundation logos

Head for Change is a recently launched charitable foundation with an important purpose: to support ex-players and their families affected by neurodegenerative disease, as a result of a career playing football or rugby. 

At Sporting Memories, we provide companionship and increased physical and mental wellbeing through reminiscence for sports fans and former players who live with dementia, depression or loneliness. This includes working with the Professional Footballers’ Association to provide Sporting Memories Clubs for former players.

Susie Brindley, Sporting Memories Chief Operating Officer for England and Wales, says: “When we learned of the work and aims of Head for Change, we knew immediately that there was synergy between what we each do. We complement each other in so many ways. By coming together in partnership at times when we can make the most difference, both charities are enhancing the reach and effectiveness of their work.”

While ex-players face memory problems, together with declining cognitive abilities, wives, husbands, partners and families face the challenge of providing care, alongside taking over practical and domestic responsibilities. 

Family members describe an emotional rollercoaster which involves a whole range of emotions, from sadness to anger, from guilt to denial, from love to frustration. The complexity was perhaps best captured by an affected wife who confessed. “I just need… I really don't know what I need, but I just need…”

Head for Change has translated that inchoate yearning into a support system that includes both emotional and practical support, in group settings, including ‘Extra Time to Talk’ meetings, and individually, in one-on-one conversations.  

Dr Judith Gates, Chair of Trustees at Head for Change, says: “We are delighted to be partnering with Sporting Memories as so many of our activities are complementary. Both organisations are working to support people and families affected by neurodegenerative disease and we have a shared connection through sport, just as we do with the people we aim to help.”

To mark the partnership, the charities are holding a free online event, to which everyone is welcome. “The Great World Cup Get Together” will take place 55 years to the hour since England and West Germany kicked off their 1966 World Cup final at Wembley. The event will honour the players of the day, with plenty of 1966 football chat, laughter, and much more along with some very special guests. There will also be memories shared of some of those who were there on that great day.

Register today for The Great World Cup Get Together, which kicks off at 3pm on 30 July.