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Sporting Memories Network (North West)

We support older people across the UK living with dementia, depression and loneliness by engaging them 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 we help people to connect with others and with their past, reawakening positive thoughts and feelings that otherwise remain hidden away.

18 November 2016
North West
Charity, Community organisations, Health, Recreation, Voluntary, Voluntary Sector
Local Alliances:
Salford Dementia Action Alliance , Bury Dementia Action Alliance, Trafford Dementia Action Alliance, Oldham Dementia Action Alliance , Wigan Dementia Action Alliance, Tameside and Glossop Dementia Action Alliance, Bolton Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Sporting Memories Network deliver sport-themed reminiscence activities for older people, including those who are living with dementia, depression or other mental health condition, or who may be experiencing loneliness or isolation, into healthy physical and social activity in order to maintain a level of engagement and activity. This is acknowledged to have significant benefits to individuals’ physical and mental wellbeing.  

Sport is something people feel passionate about and are likely to have had some involvement in, as a spectator, fan or participant, during their lives, and therefore a means of attracting people into pathways of beneficial activity for whom traditionally run activity is not of interest. More often than not, sport is also a key strand of someone's identity, and reconnecting with this part of their life can have profound impacts on that person’s sense of identity. Moreover, sport has a greater reach and appeal than traditional arts/culture activity for many people – particularly older men. As such, our activities allow provide appealing opportunities for such individuals and widen the offer and reach of provision for older people across Greater Manchester. 

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

The main challenge is to ensure that sessions are delivered in a way that fully engages and considers the needs of participants or in a way that can be considered high quality practice. To that end, Sporting Memories Network has a model of training and extensive reminiscence resources developed from clinically evaluated pilot projects and other projects delivered across the country, many funded through the health and social care sectors. Recognition of our work was recently illustrated when Sporting Memories Network won the National Initiative Award at The Alzheimer’s Society’s inaugural Dementia Friendly Awards.

The key elements required to achieve our outcomes are developing projects that are high in quality and sustainable. To that end an essential component of our staff’s role is identifying the right organisations to partner with, along with engaging volunteers to support the delivery of these activities.  

2. Actions

  • Skills development and capacity building

    We are creating and building capacity and skills across Greater Manchester through the training opportunities and new resources which Sporting Memories provides. As well as the health and social care staff in participating centres and organisations who will receive expert training in sporting reminiscence and dementia awareness, we aim to engage volunteers across generations, including older people, with interests in sport, history, heritage and supporting older people. These volunteers will gain training and experience in delivering activity with older people, and wellbeing and self-confidence from the delivery of such sessions, which will support the sustainability of Sporting Memories sessions into the future.

    Being implemented
  • Raising the profile of dementia issues

    As well as benefiting individual older people, their families and carers, this programme will also aim to raise awareness of the issues associated with dementia and other conditions affecting older people through its advocacy, wider engagement with the public and through ‘Memories Games’ where fixtures are given over to promoting the project and the issues with which it deals. 

    Being implemented
  • Supporting families and carers

    Families and carers of participants will also benefit from the project’s new methods of engaging loved ones who have dementia through sporting reminiscence.  

    Being implemented