Reminiscence Initiative

Our Reminiscence Initiative started in August 2014 and brought students from Inveralmond Community High School together with citizens with mild to moderate dementia to share their memories and experiences of senior Scottish Football matches from the 1960’s to the 2000’s.

The aim of the programme is to offer football based stimulation for the adults and respite care for families and careers, while providing valuable skills and experiences for the students.


The reminiscences programme provides skills training for the pupils to enable the youngsters working with the adults to build confidence in this new experience. NHS Lothian professionals at St John’s Hospital delivered specific training around dementia.

The 2014 programme ran for a total of eight months with two separate groups meeting on a monthly basis. The two groups of up to 12 adults have been supported by senior school pupils (also known as buddies), WLYF staff, Football Memories (Alzheimers Scotland) and NHS Lothian team members.


Each session lasts approximately two hours and includes a ‘half time’ refreshment break with tea, coffee, Bovril, pie and biscuits. They look back at players and teams from years gone by, along with the groups selecting their all-time greatest Scotland team.

The students interact and engage with the adults whilst recording observations and comments where possible, which are shared with family and careers. It not only gives the students an opportunity to learn about dementia but also a sense of community and their relationship with it.

The programme has grown in size with the 2015 Initiative being rolled out to the Armadale community with the help of Armadale Academy and the junior football team Armadale Thistle.

Jamie Hepbrun, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health commented on the programme:

“Sport is a great topic to promote conversation and interaction that spans generations. This is an excellent initiative and it is great to see the positive impact of the reminiscence programme. The opportunity for school pupils to engage and support those with mild to moderate dementia is hugely beneficial. Not only does it raise awareness of dementia amongst our young people, it supports the physical and mental wellbeing of those with dementia.”


The programme has received welcomed press coverage through local papers and a special feature on STV news.

The programme was initially funded through the SPFL Trust with additional funding being resourced through Bank of Scotland Foundation to allow the initiative to continue and grow.

For more information, call WLYF on 01506 417 000 or use our contact form.