The club previously used a grant from the Trident Community Foundation, established by Northern Premier League partners Pitching In, to establish a mental health programme which has since gone from strength to strength.
They have now been successful in their latest application, which has seen the Lions focus on dementia awareness, and the impacts on those living with and caring for people with dementia. Jas Batt, the club’s community practitioner, is hoping this project can replicate the success of their mental health campaign, with the aim to have a long-lasting effect in the area.
He said: “We have been working with the NHS quite closely and we held a very insightful dementia awareness event on March 8.
“It was great to get everybody in one room. That was one of the highlights, people engaging with each other, networking and making sure we raise awareness of dementia.
“We had some brilliant feedback from the Lord Mayor of Walsall, Rose Martin, who attended and said she was really taken aback by what we do.
We use the football club as a vehicle to bring people together and we have a duty of care to our community.”
The club hosted information stalls, workshops and interactive sessions, including a virtual reality pod that offered users an insight into the challenges of living with dementia.
“That’s the thing that stood out for everybody,” Batt added. “They gave you headphones and glasses that gave you limited vision and spikes under your feet so you get a tingling feeling and then you had to perform everyday tasks.
The new project is not just about the diagnosis of dementia, with Sporting Khalsa also looking to make a lasting impact in supporting and facilitating groups for carers provided by Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Admiral Nurses.
Batt continued: “We are not only going to focus on the individual with dementia. We are looking at caring as well.
“We don’t want this to be 12 months and then the whole thing collapses.
“We want this to last five years or 10 years, so that will last nicely in terms of what we are trying to achieve here.
“There's always work to do. Our responsibilities will be ensuring how the venue becomes dementia friendly, allowing fans to access and attend games, becoming a registered Dementia Friend and joining the Dementia Action Alliance group.”
Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/