Wigan RL and dementia project Rugby Memories needs public support in award votes chase

Declan O'Donnell meets a fan at Rugby Memories
Declan O'Donnell meets a fan at Rugby Memories

An innovative project bringing together rugby league and supporting people with dementia is asking for public backing as it attempts to scoop a major award.

Rugby Memories, a group helping those suffering from the devastating memory-loss condition founded by the Wigan Warriors Community Foundation, is shortlisted for the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards.

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The scheme beat competition from more than 700 organisations to reach the public voting stage, having made the final of the Best Community and Charity Project category.

Now, though, the project needs as many Wiganers as possible to cast votes for it to get it over the line and secure the £10,000 cash prize and trophy.

The awards also bring high-profile attention to the winners with a glittering ceremony being broadcast on national TV in November.

Wigan Warriors’ community health and wellbeing manager Claire Taylor said: “It is brilliant to be recognised in the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards in the Community and Charity category, as we have seen a profound impact on the community which we work in.

“Fans of rugby socialise through sport so this group has been formed to bring people from the community together and encourage social interaction to help combat isolation and loneliness for out participants.”

Reminiscence can be a powerful form of therapy for people with dementia and their carers and loved ones as it allows them to access long-hidden memories and provide a glimpse of the person they were before becoming ill.

Fans of the Warriors regularly meet to chat about the Cherry and Whites, look at old memorabilia and watch a game, with former and current players dropping in to meet the group.

The project previously received £7,500 from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Jonathan Tuchner from the National Lottery said: “Rugby Memories is doing an incredible job in its local community and the work it does is hugely impressive.”

Voting started last week and runs until midnight on August 21.

To cast a vote visit lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards