Developing a community feel at Cardiff City’s Community Foundation Club

The 1927 Club is a weekly Sporting Memories session held at the Cardiff City Stadium and we recently caught up with Chloe McBratney from the Cardiff City FC Community Foundation to discuss how the Club is creating a community-feel for those who come along regularly. 

Chloe began by explaining her journey with the group since she joined them in September 2022 and how the Club has evolved to provide more regular sessions.

“I joined the 1927 Club just over a year ago now, and in that time we’ve been running in-person sessions within the Cardiff City Stadium. When I first joined, we were hosting the sessions every other week, but we saw that the members took a really positive experience from each session, so from September onwards we’ve been running weekly sessions.

“It’s really enhanced the social aspect of the club and it has allowed them to get to know each other better as time has gone on, as well as give them that routine in their week which I believe is really important in building trust and confidence.

“We’ve also had situations previously where we’ve had members, who reside in care settings, come to the stadium on a non-Sporting Memories day to ask when the session was on, so they know now that every single week we will be there for them at the same time and day!”

The 1927 Club has members who are living with dementia and Chloe is fully aware of the challenges they face from personal experience.

“My Grandma had Lewy Body dementia, so along the way I learned about the support she needed as well as the impact it has on memory, so I kind of brought that into this club and it has helped me to shape what I can do with the members.

“It’s been really interesting to see the ups and downs you notice within those living with dementia when they come weekly – for example if they have a good week you’ll hear them explain something from their childhood vividly and then another week they might not be able to tell you what has happened at all recently. It's hard to see the impact that living with dementia can have on individuals when you’ve been with them for a period of time.”

We delved into Chloe’s personal thoughts on the club she facilitates inside the Stadium and how some of the activities undertaken during the weekly sessions have shown the positive impact the club can have on members.

“I love the group we’ve got – they’re always picking on me, so that’ll probably never change no matter how many people we have in the group!

“We do a lot of quizzes at the club, which seem to be a nice starting point to the sessions and we’re grateful for the Sporting Pink and the quizzes provided in that too. Sometimes they’ve helped to spark memories and conversation within the group.

“The Club members were able to try out powerchair football at a session in the Stadium recently and you could see the competitive juices flowing straight away once they started playing; but what also struck me was the freedom it gave some of them – particularly those who have had to give up their driving licenses – as it was that opportunity to have that bit of freedom again and remembering what it was like to drive a car.

“Some of their driving skills weren’t the best and we did have to watch our toes from time-to-time, but even though that was a few weeks ago, they were still talking about it last week which shows the impact doing something stimulating can have.”

Those active or physical elements to the sessions play a vital part of how the 1927 Club benefits members according to Chloe.

“I definitely feel like the physical activity aspects we provide in the sessions are good for the Club members, particularly for their cognitive and motor skills as that is something really important to focus on. Whether it be just catching or rolling a ball, it’s just those basics which perhaps may take them back to their childhood – even if in some cases it is just about re-learning those skills again.”

“Just by working on those fundamental skills alone I can see the enjoyment and benefits it has and with the sports we play, it also brings out that competitive aspect. Even with the quizzes they all still want to win, so that hasn’t been taken away from them.”

Finally, we asked Chloe what it means to the Cardiff City FC Community Foundation to host the Sporting Memories session every week at the stadium.

“I feel like it’s so important to the local community that we’re able to open our doors and welcome people in who are perhaps isolated or don’t have family members around them. Also, to bring them into the club and to provide that sense of a community I believe in a way makes them feel like part of a different family.

“As a Foundation, it’s vital for us to interact with different sections of the local community across Cardiff, but to also be able to provide a safe space where they can speak openly about how they are, and in some cases how their dementia is affecting them and their loved ones around them.”

To find out more about the 1927 Club, please contact Chloe via Chloe McBratney

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