Leeds Rhinos squad become Dementia Friends

The full Leeds Rhinos squad attended a Dementia Friend Awareness course this week in support of the club’s commitment to making Emerald Headingley Stadium a dementia friendly venue.

The session was held at Leeds Rugby Academy at Kirkstall and involved the players learning about the challenges someone living with dementia faces.

Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.

Kallum Watkins, Leeds Rhinos captain, said: “Being part of the course has been helpful for the team and we have gained awareness that we can spread across the city. It was massive to learn new things about dementia and to get advice on how to deal with certain situations and scenarios when you meet people who are living with dementia.”

The players completing the course follows on from the club’s staff taking the training and is part of a wider initiative to make the stadium dementia friendly. Leeds Rhinos Foundation, who run a monthly In Touch Dementia support group, has led the initiative and invited the Leeds Older People’s Forum to deliver the session.

Jude Woods, Communities Officer at Time to Shine, said: “I delivered a Dementia Friends Awareness course with the Rhinos squad. The sessions are to give basic information about dementia, but it’s mostly about getting people to think about the stigma that people living with dementia face and trying to break down some of the misinformation and encourage people to be actively supporting people living with dementia. The session is all about action and people learning and having the confidence to go away and take action.

“It’s brilliant that Leeds Rhinos are working towards making Emerald Headingley a dementia friendly venue. I think anyone that might encounter a person living with dementia coming to the stadium for a game or an event or activity this training is really helpful.

“The key things are about learning the five key messages, understanding that all of us can do something to help and even if it night be a very small thing like doing an awareness session, wearing your Dementia Friend badge and willing to be supporting and kind and patient. You can get much more involved by setting up a dementia friendly community and get in touch with Leeds Older People’s Forum for more information.”

The five Key messages you should know about dementia are:

  1. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing
    2. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain
    3. It’s not just about losing your memory
    4. People can still live well with dementia
    5. Alzheimer’s Society is here for anyone affected by dementia

To find out more information about the key messages  CLICK HERE or for more information on getting involved CLICK HERE