Football Memories kicks-off at Excelsior Foundation
It was a special week for the Excelsior Rotterdam Foundation. They celebrated their 10th anniversary and also officially launched their version of Football Memories. This project is aimed at elderly people and seeks to combat (incipient) dementia and loneliness. During weekly meetings, memories of the past are retrieved. The kick-off took place in the Van Donge & De Roo Stadium of Excelsior Rotterdam. Besides partners, volunteers and participants, Excelsior Legends Thijs Libregts and Sjaak Roggeveen were also present.
While the first team squad of Excelsior Rotterdam was training on the main pitch of the stadium, project manager Andrean Loizides kicked off the Football Memories project in the business hall. Before the summer they started carefully and now they are really going to start with this project, in which the participants can retrieve memories together. Football memories, but we also talked about music and the war. So it can be anything.
The idea for Football Memories started in the United Kingdom, where this project has been running for much longer. In the Netherlands, Willem II was the first club where senior citizens came together on a weekly basis. ”In 2018 we started”, Arjen Pijfers of Football Memories Netherlands told during the kick-off meeting. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 restrictions, we had to stop for a year and a half, but a fortnight ago we started again.
About two years ago, Pijfers talked to a delegation of the municipality of Rotterdam and the three Rotterdam professional football clubs about starting this project in the Maasstad. The Excelsior Foundation, in cooperation with welfare organisation DOCK Kralingen Crooswijk, was the party that eventually embraced Football Memories.
Pijfers: I am happy for the elderly people in Rotterdam that they can now join Football Memories. They are going to experience something very beautiful.
Iris Horn of DOCK Kralingen Crooswijk: Elderly people want to and have to live at home for longer and it is important that they can remain as vital as possible. As a welfare organisation, we believe it is important to have accessible preventive daycare. That people have the possibility to do nice things with others. Excelsior is a great partner to set up this project and it also fits with us. What we especially like is that Football Memories attracts many men, because we generally see less of them at our activities.
Michel van Elck of Leefbaar Rotterdam was also present at the signing. He was instrumental in getting the municipality to embrace this project: ”I put forward in January 2019 that Football Memories should also come to Rotterdam. I think it’s great that Excelsior has taken this up. A club with a fantastic history. I also like the fact that I see Excelsior legends Thijs Libregts and Sjaak Roggeveen here. I have great memories of players like Koos Waslander, Aad Leenheer, the Wasiman brothers and trainers like Bob Janse and Rob Jacobs. What could be more fun than talking about football together and looking back on great moments?
The official starting signal was the moment when the various parties placed their signatures on a large board. Then Thijs Libregts and Sjaak Roggeveen received a copy of their personal cards. These cards – with historical photos and related facts – will be used during the project. The connecting factor is football”, Loizides emphasised. But we can talk about anything and everything. Our volunteers will pick up and bring the participants to the stadium if desired. In that respect, everyone can participate in this project.