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Sporting Stories Helps Kick-out Loneliness

Thu 26th Feb 2015 | Fan Engagement

New initiative from Friends of the Elderly, West Ham United Foundation and Barclays Digital Eagles seeks to bring older people and their communities together through sport.

Friends of the Elderly and West Ham United Foundation have launched a new initiative, in partnership with Barclays Digital Eagles, aimed at addressing the increasing issue of loneliness amongst older people.

The launch of Sporting Stories has been marked by a social event at Upton Park, where around 50 locals were  welcomed by volunteers from the three organisations.

The Joint-Chairman of West Ham United, David Gold, was also in attendance to meet, greet and share his own sporting stories.

Research shows there is a significant increase in the number of men facing loneliness and isolation in old age.

With this in mind, Sporting Stories aims to reach as many older men as possible. The project complements the organisations’ ongoing work to connect individuals, neighbours and communities to ensure all older people can lead happy and fulfilled lives.

Chief Executive of West Ham United Foundation, Joseph Lyons said: “We’re really excited about this new initiative. West Ham has always been a family club, but this really goes beyond partisan support and reaches out to those who just love the game.

“It’s an opportunity for people to share their memories and develop relationships, and for the Foundation to further our goal of improving wellbeing across our diverse society.

“Football has a unique ability to bring people together and kickstart social and community action, from children’s participation to intergenerational focus and communication to encouraging good health and fitness.

“Often the over 65s can become isolated, but they will always be a central part of our football community and we hope Sporting Stories will ensure that no-one is left on the touchline…”

Steve Allen, CEO of Friends of the Elderly, commented: “This issue is integral to Friends of the Elderly’s work and feeds into our ongoing, nationwide Be a Friend campaign (http://www.beafriendtoday.org.uk/), which aims to end loneliness and isolation in our communities.

“We are delighted by the positive response this project has received so far and we hope that Sporting Stories, will help create a culture of connected communities.” 

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

 

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