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Sporting Memories

* PLEASE NOTE - SESSIONS ARE CURRENTLY SUSPENDED *

The Dragons Community have teamed up with Sporting Memories Wales to use the power of sport to engage local people living with dementia, depression or are socially isolated.

Sporting Memories Wales work with communities and organisations to promote the mental and physical wellbeing of people over 50.

Weekly volunteer-led clubs take place at stadiums, clubs, care-centres, community centres and libraries, using archive images of sport, memorabilia and news reports to trigger fond memories of playing or watching sport.

As well as reminiscing about sport and allowing group members to tell their stories through sporting memories, the clubs include exercise and the playing of accessible sports to increase physical activity levels of beneficiaries.

New friendships are formed with members gaining confidence to meet new friends and make meaningful connections not just within the clubs but in the wider community too.

The Dragons Community team – in association with County in the Community – are now launching a new weekly club at Rodney Parade.

Sessions run every Thursday at Rodney Parade between 10am and 12noon with FREE refershments.

Gareth Sullivan, Inclusion Coordinator at Dragons Rugby, said: ”We are absolutely delighted to work Sporting Memories Wales and in association with County in the Community to launch the new club.

“We understand how the power of sport can reconnect and reignite isolated older people and look forward to launching the new club for people across Newport.”

Clubs consist of the ‘first half’ being sporting reminiscence and cognitively stimulating games supported by memorabilia and resources such as Replay cards, quizzes and the weekly Sporting Pink defined by the participant’s sporting interests and preferences. These therapeutic activities can help trigger affirming memories to reinforce identity, connect people and improve personal confidence and mental well-being.

The ’second half’ of the weekly club will facilitate physical activity with a range of activities and sports including table tennis, boccia, bowls, darts, new age kurling. The physical activity will be a gradual introduction to support older people slowly increasing physical activity levels from a starting point of being inactive.

Sporting Memories Wales are launching two new weekly clubs in Newport. The second is at Rascal Hope Centre on Tuesday, March 3 between 10.30am and 12.30pm.

If you are interested in attending the club at Rodney Parade call Gareth on 07887242409 or email gareth.sullivan@dragonsrugby.wales 

You can also contact the local coordinator via email nikki.foster@thesmf.co.uk or telephone 07515916305.

Sporting Memories are the world’s first charity dedicated to sports reminiscence and physical activities. The charity supports older people living in England and Wales with dementia, depression and loneliness by engaging in social activities and helping them to recall memories of watching or playing sport. By sharing memories of sporting moments and tapping into a passion for sport, Sporting Memories help people to connect with others and with their past, reawakening positive thoughts and feelings that otherwise remain hidden away. For more information visit www.sportingmemoriesnetwork.com

UPDATE - MAY 2020 - WHY, MORE THAN EVER, WE SHOULD ALL TALK ABOUT SPORT

With the suspension of over 120 Sporting Memories community Clubs for older people in England, Wales and Scotland due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sporting Memories Foundation is encouraging everyone, no matter where they are, to talk about sport.

Sporting Memories Co-founder Chris Wilkins says: “We all know someone who loves to talk about sport. Talking about sport is the bedrock of our community Clubs for older people. It’s a powerful, emotive and often joyous topic that engages people on all levels. We use sport to tackle social isolation and improve physical and cognitive well-being and resilience.

“Now that so many of us are isolated from our loved ones and friends, we want to encourage as many people as possible to talk about sport. To engage by whatever means they can with their family and friends of all ages, spark lively conversations and bring to the fore all those positive memories. That’s why we have launched a new campaign: #TalkAboutSport. We want to demonstrate to as many people as possible the health, wellbeing and social benefits of talking about sport.”

Sporting Memories is developing resources and activities that can be used at home, online or over the telephone. With quizzes, puzzles, a weekly sports publication, a weekly online magazine programme and video guidance already made available, there is plenty more to follow. The organisation’s staff and volunteers are working hard to turn their ideas into reality.

Chris says: “Some of these resources are already used in our Clubs, others will be brand new. Of course there are challenges: many of those we work with have limited options to access activities online. However, this is where we hope a wider #TalkAboutSport message can help. By highlighting that sport is a wonderful way of sparking conversation and by providing guidance and resources to go alongside this, people will find ways to engage. We will give people a taste of what happens at our Clubs and show them how to bring this into the home and over the telephone.”

Sporting Memories is encouraging people to sign up on its website to a new, free digital version of the Sporting Pink – a weekly publication produced by the organisation. Usually only available to its Clubs, the Foundation hopes that by making it more widely available, families and friends will use it with older people to spark sporting conversations.

“We have set up an Activities area on our website, www.sportingmemoriesnetwork.com, and will be adding to this and our other online channels over the coming days and weeks.”

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