Sporting Memories members at Preston North End Community and Education Trust have celebrated the first anniversary of the group’s inception with a joint meeting with members of the Lanarkshire group in Scotland.
Sporting Memories is a programme which is designed to support people over 50 who are living with dementia, depression and loneliness with reminiscence and light physical activity sessions, but is also open to anyone who is simply looking to talk about sport.
The group has seen a number of changes in its first year, with sessions having first been delivered at Finney House Care Home before a move to the Players’ Lounge at Deepdale.
And while the unforeseen outbreak of a global pandemic meant another change of venue was required – this time to each individual member’s home as sessions went virtual – the group has now been running successfully online for the past six months.
The latest online meeting saw members reunite with participants from the Lanarkshire group for a series of themed quizzes and discussions to mark one year of the programme running at Preston North End Community and Education Trust.
The two groups also met earlier in the year when Preston North End hosted Sporting Memories’ EURO 2020 Get Together and approximately 50 participants tuned in via Zoom.
Inclusion Manager Melissa Brown said: “Despite all the changes we have experienced in the first year, our Sporting Memories group has been a great success and proven extremely popular, helping people who are living with dementia, depression and loneliness.
“We had some fantastic times at Deepdale with tours of the ground, engaging guest speakers and fundraising events taking place.
“While we’re looking forward to getting back to in-person delivery when safe to do so, the group continues to be well received in an online format, which is testament to the enthusiasm of our members and the team of dedicated volunteers led by Martin Atherton.
“Martin and all of the other members and volunteers have adapted fantastically to online delivery and we continue to welcome interesting guest speakers and engage with our members, providing something for them to look forward to every Tuesday.”
Sporting Memories meetings take place from 11am until 12 noon every Tuesday via Zoom and the group now forms part of our Tackling Loneliness Together provision, for which PNECET were awarded £32,000 in funding from the EFL Trust earlier this year as part of a wider government grant shared between 32 EFL club community organisations.
Funding is being utilised to support those at risk of loneliness and isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Sporting Memories just one five Zoom meetings with a different meeting taking place every day from Monday to Friday.
There are also a number of other initiatives running as part of the Tackling Loneliness Together programme, a socially distanced walking club, garden gate visits, a phone call referral scheme and a pen pal scheme.
Anyone is welcome to take part in any of these schemes, no matter whether they are a new or existing participant, and people can also refer friends and family members to be the beneficiary of one of the schemes too.