It’s Wednesday evening, so it’s time to take a moment out from the game of football itself in order to give a little time over to good causes that are working within the game of football in order to help those less fortunate than others. We have said this on this page before, but it bears repeating: football can carry a very negative image, and even those of us that really love the game are aware of many of the ills that surround it. However, as a reflection of society itself, it is also capable of a great deal of good. It seems appropriate that we should continue to push those that are trying to use the game for positive reasons. This week, we have a charity group made up of the supporters of one of England’s most financially stricken clubs, an initiative which uses football to help with those that suffer from dementia and a charity walk in aid of Cancer Research.

Le Testimonial: The continuing travails of Plymouth Argyle have been well-documented on the pages of this site over the last few months and the club is a subject that we will be returning to very shortly. Perhaps less well-publicised has been the good work carried out by the supporters of the club over recent months. We reported on here before about the fund-raising effort to raise money for staff that hadn’t been paid at the end of last year, and this summer the supporters of the club, through its fund-raising arm The Green Taverners are putting on a special event as a testimonial for a player that has stuck with the club for a decade whilst fighting a battle of his own that puts the club’s financial wranglings into a little perspective, goalkeeper Romain Larrieu. Larrieu has fought testicular cancer off twice, in 2006 and 2008, and that his ten years with Plymouth should be marked with a testimonial match is entirely natural.

The match is to be played against Queens Park Rangers on the twentieth of July, and supporters concerned that the money raised from the match fall go into the black hole of debt that the club has accumulated needn’t worry – all money raised will be paid into a separate account set up by the Le Testimonial’s Committee, and will be paid to Romain’s three chosen charities. The Mustard Tree Macmillan Centre is based at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, and it offers people affected by cancer access to good quality comprehensive and appropriate information and support, as well as but also referring people affected by cancer to other services including benefits advice, counselling, complementary therapies, support groups and activities. CATS Community Action Through Sport was established in 2005 in answer to a dispersal area being imposed on young people. The youngsters insisted that they did not want to be ‘tarred with the same brush’ and wanted to be known for the good things that they do and be able to afford access to sports activities. Jeremiah’s Journey is a self-funded charity that offers support and information to children and their families who have experienced or are anticipating the death of someone special. Tickets are available from this website or from the box office at Home Park. You can find out more about the work of The Green Taverners here.

The Alzheimer Scotland’s Football Reminiscence Partnership: Alzheimers Disease can be a living tragedy for those that have to deal with it day by day, but an innovative in Scotland is using the latent power of football to bring a small chink of light into the treatment of its sufferers. Alzheimer Scotland is working with the Scottish Football Museum to bring an innovative new reminiscence project to football fans with dementia all over Scotland. The project involves training volunteers to spend time with people with dementia who have an interest in football, talking about the teams and matches of the past and working with visual images to stimulate memories, and the evidence is that, while it is no cure for the disease, it can make a difference to those that suffer with it. A recent nine month pilot found that football reminiscence could help improve their wellbeing by increasing their self-confidence, making them feel more comfortable in a group and giving them a sense of enjoyment.

There are several different ways in which you can help. If you live in Scotland, you can join Alzheimer Scotland’s Tartan Army, recruited as team of volunteers, trained them in football reminiscence and connected them to people with dementia. The resources of the Scottish Football Museum, and hopefully local clubs, will be used to build uponn the work that has already been done. You can also make donations to them by clicking here, and you can find out more about this project by downloading this PDF file. Should you wish to, you can read up on case studies by clicking here. Anybody that has first hand experience the effects of Alzheimers Disease will be able to tell you that any relief from the debilitating effects from it can be an absolute godsend for all that experience it, and you can help.

Around Every Ground: At midnight on August 17th 2010, three football fans will attempt to visit all ninety-two Premier and Football League grounds in as short a time as possible, with all donations and gifts generously received going to the charity Cancer Research UK. Dan Owen (representing Plymouth Argyle), Richard Campbell (Chelsea), Steve Ellison (Watford) & Peter Bulfin (Brentford) will survive on nothing but Scotch Eggs & Coke whilst non-stop driving around the 92 grounds. No hotels, no proper meals, no creature comforts, no fun at all.Please support this worthy cause by publicising this event to the best of your abilities using our just giving web page at the top, and spare a thought for us on this serious endurance test. It’s not a marathon, it will be worse and it will be more painful. They are open to any other further (legal) suggestions for sponsorship. For example, they have an extra £50 being donated if Dan wears a Bristol City top Outside The Cardiff City Stadium, Bristol Rovers’ Memorial Ground and Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park. So, dig deep and feel free to add your donation here.

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