Care South’s Castle Dene care home in Bournemouth was delighted to open its home for special guest appearances from AFC Bournemouth goalkeeper and Captain, Norberto Murara Neto, known as Neto, and retired English footballer, Steve Fletcher thanks to the AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust team. 

Residents were delighted to welcome the AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust team with its special guests back to their home, with everyone keen to put their footballing skills to the test. The day started with residents taking part in warm up exercises to prepare for some football fun. Neto and Steve joined in with the games and the Community Sports Trust team made sure everyone in the makeshift pitch was able to get involved, using specially designed, seated football games to bring out the competitive streak in all residents. 

There was a well-earned half time break with tea, coffee and conversation between residents, Neto, Steve and the Community Sports Trust team. Prizes for the games that were played consisted of official AFC Bournemouth merchandise, including clocks and scarfs, and were handed out by Neto and Steve to winning residents, Pam, Mitzy and Mary.

Lana Wright, Home Manager at Castle Dene, commented: “It’s always great to welcome the team from AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust to Castle Dene and this time with two very special guests. Residents thoroughly enjoyed the football games, especially with AFC Bournemouth Captain, Neto, and Steve Fletcher joining in. The Trust visits the home regularly to deliver football sessions which help to keep residents in our care active and engaged, with input from the community.” 

Steve Cuss, Head of AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust, commented: “It is always a pleasure to visit any of the Care South homes and this was a special day for everyone who got to experience it. Residents and staff enjoyed meeting Neto and Steve Fletcher, playing the games, and socialising in the half time break. We really enjoy our regular visits to all the Care South homes and this visit for all at Castle Dene was an enjoyable day to remember.”

Neto, AFC Bournemouth goalkeeper and Captain, said: “We had a great time and I really enjoyed myself at Castle Dene. It’s always nice to see a smile on people’s faces. My grandmother spent time in a care home, and I know how important they are. It’s great to be part of a football club which goes into the community and helps people. We heard stories about residents and their friends who like football, and it was great to see everybody was happy and enjoying themselves.” 

Resident, Pam, who won one of the prizes on offer, added: “It was wonderful to see the people from AFC Bournemouth because you need to be doing something every day. It was good to take part in the activities and everybody got involved in the games.”

The visit from the team was thanks to the ongoing partnership between AFC Bournemouth Community Sports Trust and Care South, which began in 2014. The partnership allows residents, home care clients and staff to get involved in a variety of activities, including meeting players, coffee mornings, walking football and visits to the Vitality Stadium.