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Sport for confidence: a collaborative programme of physical activity, sport and exercise for people with Young Onset Dementia

Mary Tilki (Peaceful Place, Basildon, UK.)
Charlotte Curran (Peaceful Place, Basildon, UK.)
Liz Burton (Peaceful Place, Basildon, UK.)
Lyndsey Barrett (Sport for Confidence, Chelmsford, UK.)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 1 September 2022




This paper aims to showcase an innovative programme of physical activity and sport to enhance the health and well-being of people with Young Onset Dementia (YOD). It is hoped that this will inspire similar collaborations between day and activity centres and exercise/sports facilities.


A case study of a collaborative programme between Peaceful Place, a day service for people with YOD and Sport for Confidence in Essex. It draws upon the observations and reflective accounts of those implementing the programme.


People with YOD chose and engaged in a range of physical activities and sports, resulting in increased fitness, flexibility and mobility. There were improvements in memory, cognition for some and reductions in anxiety and depression for most. The main benefits were fun, enjoyment, confidence, a sense of achievement, self-esteem, improved social interaction and wider relationships. Participants were also motivated to take more exercise, get outdoors and try new challenges and experiences.

Practical implications

Given the predicted rise in people with YOD, this paper offers insight into ways of supporting them to be active physically and socially, thus, improving health, well-being and quality of life.


This paper is the account of professionals deeply involved in all stages of negotiating, consulting, developing, overcoming challenges and implementing the programme.



Tilki, M., Curran, C., Burton, L. and Barrett, L. (2022), "Sport for confidence: a collaborative programme of physical activity, sport and exercise for people with Young Onset Dementia", Working with Older People, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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