SENIOR SUPPORTERS OFFERED BEHIND-THE-SCENES INSIGHT

Head groundsman Jason Griffin joined the Chelsea Foundation's Senior Supporters Group at Cobham for a lively and informative Q and A session last week.

The group, who are keen to learn about changes in technology, were fascinated to hear about the increasingly technical art of achieving pitch perfection.

The Cobham-based Senior Supporters Group was set up earlier this year by the Chelsea Foundation, building on the success of the club's award-winning Alive and Kicking project at Stamford Bridge.

Both groups are funded by Chelsea Football Club, with support from the Premier League Community Fund. The groups are open to senior learners, aged 70 plus, with the aim of providing weekly computer skills sessions and a programme of activities, which are educational, enjoyable and help create a sense of community and combat isolation.

The groups meet weekly at the stadium and training ground. There are also several larger events over the course of the season aimed at the needs and interests of our valued senior fans, many of whom have been supporting the club since the 1930s and 1940s.

Griffin's talk offered a unique behind-the-scenes perspective for 15 learners who joined the project recently.

'It's great,' said 78-year-old Eddie Miller. 'I've made new friends and I enjoy everything about being part of this group. I'm so glad I came along.'

The Chelsea Foundation now works with 85 to 100 senior learners. They regularly attend programmes of educational activities, which aim to help participants keep active and healthy, become involved and manage stress, particularly in the face of life-changing events.

The Alive and Kicking projects offer companionship and a support network to those who are caring for elderly relatives, living alone or who may have been recently bereaved.

With a growing elderly population in the communities around both the stadium and training ground, the project is particularly unique in that it is geared towards the needs of older men.

Participants are also encouraged to volunteer in local primary schools, to share their memories, knowledge and experience. These visits challenge perceptions and improve attitudes towards older people.

If you would like to find out more about activities for the over 70s, or be invited to our next special Christmas event in early December, please email: denisa.majorosova@chelseafc.com or call 01932 588 215.