THE PARS are top of the league off the pitch once more after they became Scotland's first club to be recognised with the Dementia Friends award.

An Alzheimer's Society initiative, the programme aims to changes people's perception of the condition, and how they think, act and talk about it, through an online video or information sessions.

Working together with Alzheimer Scotland Scotland, Co-op Funeralcare and Fife Council, the club and the Pars Foundation – who run its community programme – also run a monthly football memories group, which helps improve the lives of football fans with dementia by using football images and memorabilia from the past to aid recall and memory.

Kelly Armstrong, the Pars Foundation's general manager, said: "We are delighted to be the first Scottish club to be recognised with the Dementia Friends award.

"There were over 15 members of club and foundation staff that completed the course, with many more taking part in the online training.

"We want to ensure that everyone who comes to East End Park feels included and valued. People living with, and affected by, dementia are often isolated from the wider community due to the lack of understanding and stigma, and we as a club have an important role to play to help raise awareness and increase understanding."

Kenny Mclachlan, care logistics manager for Co-op Funeralcare Dunfermline, commented: "Ruth McCabe, from Fife Council, contacted Co-op Funeralcare to ask if we would take part in the Dementia-Friendly Fife initiative.

"Ruth worked with us to make all our local care centres and branches Dementia-Friendly, and our colleagues Dementia Friends.
"Ruth asked if I was aware of any other local businesses who may wish to join the programme. I was proud to nominate The Pars Foundation and Dunfermline Athletic, and to then work with the club and with Ruth in an advisory capacity.

"We should all be proud that Dunfermline Athletic are the first professional football club in the country to achieve the accreditation.

"The Co-op are delighted to be associated with both Fife Council and The Pars Foundation and Dunfermline Athletic."

Anne McWhinnie, Alzheimer Scotland's Dementia Friends programme manager, added: "We are delighted that The Pars Foundation and Dunfermline Football Club have taken steps to become a dementia-friendly football club to help support people living with dementia and their families continue attending match days to support their club.

"Creating an inclusive and dementia-friendly environment at the stadium will go some way to help make people living with the illness feel recognised, valued and understood in their community."

The accreditation comes after, in August, supporter and mental health first aid trainer, Eddie Martin, was appointed as Athletic's club ambassador on the subject.

It is also believed to be the first of its kind within Scottish football circles and, in September, eight supporters had completed a Scottish Mental Health First Aid course delivered by Eddie.

If you have any questions about dementia, or the support available in your area, call Alzheimer Scotland’s 24-hour freephone dementia helpline on 0808 808 3000, or visit the website

The Pars Foundation's football memories group meet on the third Wednesday of the month, from 1.30-3pm, at East End Park and for more information, visit, or find The Pars Foundation on Facebook.