Bringing older football fans together to create friendshipsWe’re very pleased to announce that Reading FC Community Trust, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), Friends of the Elderly and Barclays Digital Eagles all united to launch a scheme for over-65s with the aim of bringing football fans together.
‘Football Friends’ is an inclusive five-week programme that aims to provide older participants with the opportunity to connect with their local club, their peers and learn digital skills.
Over the five weeks fans will share their memories of the club, learn how to connect with the club and with each other digitally and form social bonds that last well beyond the programme.
The sessions will run from Friday 5th February to Friday 12th March and will include a variety of activities such as a stadium tour, attending a game, reminiscence and memory-sharing whilst a digital element runs throughout.
The first session at Madejski Stadium had over 40 people in attendance, who listened to Reading’s Club Historian David Downs, Community Trust manager Dave Evans and PFA representative and ex-West Ham player Paul Raven. One attendee said: “It’s got us out, it’s got us interacting with other people and we’ve made new friends.”
Jenny Russell, Head of Volunteering and Community Engagement at Friends of the Elderly, said: “We know that loneliness is an issue for older people for many different reasons but we learnt from our pilot with the West Ham Foundation that this programme not only helps to overcome loneliness but it also supports prevention and gives participants the confidence to become involved in their community once again.”
Dave Evans, Reading FC Community Trust Manager, said: "As a Trust we work closely with the local community and see this as an excellent opportunity to reach a group of Reading FC fans who have followed the club over a number of years and have a real affinity with the team.”
For more information about Friends of the Elderly, please visit www.fote.org.uk or to find out more about Reading FC’s Community Trust visit community.readingfc.co.uk