In September, the Spanish Federation of Veteran Footballers’ Associations (FEAFV), LALIGA, and FUNDACIÓN LALIGA signed a collaboration agreement to promote the ‘Football-based Reminiscence Workshops’ project, which have been organised by the Federation since 2013. After only three months, this programme has rolled out a total of 20 workshops in residential homes all over Spain, reaching more than 200 people.
The aim of the project is to stimulate and restore the memories associated with childhood, youth and maturity via football, for older people, with or without cognitive impairment, brain damage or mental health problems. A total of 40 workshops are expected to be running by the end of the season
This important milestone for the project is part of its third expansion phase, since it began almost a decade ago in Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao. Following the implementation of the intervention programme in 2015 aimed at increasing the target audience, the project was opened up to multiple provinces nationwide.
The first 20 workshops are already in operation in the cities of Malaga, San Sebastian, Logroño, Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Valencia, Vigo, Seville, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Irún, Alicante, Alcorcón, La Coruña and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. They are led by veteran football players such as Manolo Rubio, Jordi Gonzalvo, Esther Torrecilla, Javier Torres, César Laínez and Aitziber Juaristi “Tzibi”, among many others. They have also visited stadiums such as the Cívitas Metropolitano, José Zorrilla, Abanca Balaídos, San Mamés, La Rosaleda and Santo Domingo, which has proved to be an extremely enriching experience for all those involved.
As stated by Juan Mari Zorriqueta, President of the FEAFV, “it’s been a very exciting and promising start to the project due to the significant involvement of various football players who improve the lives of individuals with cognitive impairment, brain damage and those undergoing psychosocial rehabilitation processes through football memories.”
In turn, Olga de la Fuente, director of FUNDACIÓN LALIGA, said that, “we are very happy with the way the project is evolving during the first steps of this very fruitful union, which is based on improving the quality of life of the participants and making them happier through the memories that football generates.”
The launch of this joint project, which will continue throughout the season with visits to more cities plus the collaboration of new FEAFV Associations, is based on a strategic collaboration that will make it possible to reach people to whom we owe a great deal. It’s a great opportunity to raise awareness and social consciousness.
Additionally, it has been shown that football can be a very effective tool to help recover memories, especially among those who have emotional ties or experiences associated with sport. And in the particular case of this group, football has played a massive part in their lives. For example, through the emotion of remembering a match they attended, an important win for their team, or a player they knew, lasting memories are triggered.