Racecourse Association supports landmark Alzheimer’s Society Guidance

Paul Swainin Association News
  • Racecourse Accessibility Project featured as case study in landmark Alzheimer's Society Guidance for sports grounds.
  • RCA joins the FA in supporting the guidance as pledge to make sports grounds as accessible as possible.
  • Racecourses registering for dementia friendly training for raceday staff.

The Racecourse Association (RCA) joins the Football Association (FA) in backing landmark guidance developed by Alzheimer's Society for all stadiums and sports grounds pledging to become dementia friendly.

The RCA's involvement with the charity came as a result of the national Racecourse Accessibility Project where racecourses were included as a case study. Subsequently, the RCA has been working closely with Alzheimer's Society to identify racecourses where dementia friendly training could be offered for staff.

The Football Association (FA) has worked with Alzheimer's Society to put in place a series of improvements to the iconic Wembley Stadium, changing the game for fans with dementia.

After an audit of the stadium by people affected by dementia, who were invited to attend two matchdays and provide feedback, several supporting measures have been put in place to improve accessibility and increase understanding and knowledge of dementia.

As well as becoming the first national stadium to become dementia friendly, The FA has joined the RCA in backing Alzheimer's Society's Dementia Friendly Sports Clubs and Venues guide. The new guidance is designed for grounds and stadiums of all sizes, to help make sure all fans are supported, understood and know where to get help on gamedays.

Alzheimer's Society CEO, Kate Lee, said: "Passion for sport stays with people long after a dementia diagnosis, so these improvements to one of the world's most iconic football stadiums, in a national first, is set to be another legacy of our fantastic partnership with The FA and will make a massive difference to thousands of fans up and down the country.

"We want to see all sports showing their commitment to giving fans with dementia a smooth journey from sofa to stands and we're really pleased to see our landmark guidance be so well received by organisations across multiple sports. We hope it helps foster a more inclusive, accessible and welcoming environment for sports fans with dementia, so they can continue to be at the heart of the action."

Raceday Experience and Communications Manager at the Racecourse Association, Paul Swain, said: "There are around 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK, and the fear of being unable to enjoy watching the sports they love after a diagnosis is all too common.

"We're working closely with Alzheimer's Society and backing its landmark guidance to keep fans at the heart of unforgettable racing moments as part of British horseracing's ongoing commitment to inclusion."

Director of Wembley Stadium, Liam Boylan, added: "The changes we've made at Wembley are the first steps in ensuring that those who are affected by dementia are not excluded from the beautiful game and can continue to enjoy the sport they love safe in the knowledge that their support and wellbeing is our top priority.

"Sport has an unrivalled ability to inform, educate and put a spotlight on important issues and we look forward to continue working closely with Alzheimer's Society to raise funds and awareness to help provide desperately needed support to the 900,000 people with dementia in the UK."