TACKLING the impact of dementia through football is the subject of a new project.

Albion’s official charity has teamed up with Age UK Brighton and Hove to run a specially adapted walking football session.

Albion In The Community and the Dementia Action Alliance combined to launch the project, called Walk Tall Football, which includes regular sessions at the King Alfred Centre in Hove.

Throughout a ten-week long pilot, the session proved popular, with regular attendance from more than a dozen people.

Not everyone who takes part has dementia – some are carers, friends, or partners of people who do and the group can also cater for people living with, and after, the effects of cancer.

The idea behind the session, however, is to provide people affected by long-term conditions such as dementia with a supportive environment in which to get active and socialise in a safe and effective way.

Coaching is provided by AITC and the sessions take place every Monday lunchtime, with a new group set to start in January.

Matthew Moors, Dementia Action Alliance co-ordinator, said: “Walk Tall Football targets not only physical health, but mental health too.

“People with dementia can sometimes feel isolated,

lonely or anxious about going out.

“This initiative gives participants the opportunity to get fitter in a relaxed environment while also socialising and having fun.

“We’ve had great feedback and there’s been a healthy dose of competition on the pitch too.”

Siobhan Meaker, health manager at Albion In The Community, said: “Walk Tall Football is a great way of combining strength and balance exercises with the fun of gentle football competition.

“We know that living with a long-term degenerative health condition can lead to people feeling excluded and isolated – we’re working in partnership to overcome these barriers and encourage people to feel able again.”