Angus organisations scoring community wellbeing boost with joint Sporting Memories sessions

Strathmore Cricket Club and Strathmore Community Rugby Trust are rolling out a new project which uses sporting memories and physical activity to improve health and wellbeing for people in the Forfar and Kirriemuir areas.
The group talk about the 1967 Scotland-England football game in the second session at Lochside Connections.The group talk about the 1967 Scotland-England football game in the second session at Lochside Connections.
The group talk about the 1967 Scotland-England football game in the second session at Lochside Connections.

The project will deliver regular sporting memories sessions in several locations, providing participants with opportunities to enjoy each other’s company while sharing their memories of local and national sports events and personalities.

The sessions also involve low-level physical and sporting activities adapted to match the needs and interests of those taking part.

The idea for the project emerged from discussions between the two organisations, which are both committed to using sport and people’s interest in it to promote better health and wellbeing.

Gail gives Pete Fairy Liquid to identify by smell in the second session at Lochside Connections.Gail gives Pete Fairy Liquid to identify by smell in the second session at Lochside Connections.
Gail gives Pete Fairy Liquid to identify by smell in the second session at Lochside Connections.

Sporting memories work has been around in Scotland for more than 10 years and has a proven track record in reducing social isolation and improving the mental and physical health of older people, including those living with dementia.

A spokesperson for Strathmore Cricket Club explained: “We were aware that during the lockdowns, and in society more generally, many people have become more isolated and short on social contact.

“We also know sport plays an important part in the lives of many people and they enjoy reminiscing about their experiences as players and supporters.

“We thought we could link these two factors and use our passion for sport to create new opportunities for people to enjoy each other’s company while talking about something they know and love. We were both keen to develop sporting memories work in the area and it made sense for us to do this together.”

The project is already up and running, with regular sessions taking place at Lochside Connections Dementia Meeting Centre in Forfar and sessions are planned for future ones at: Letham Bowling Club, November 2 at 7pm; Forfar Library, November 16 at 2pm and Kirriemuir Library, November 3 at 2pm. It’s also intended to have a session at East and Old Parish Church, Forfar, in the near future.

The sessions are open to anyone and people can just turn up on the day. For more information contact Katie Gillanders at [email protected].

Initial feedback from the first sessions at Lochside Connections on September 14 and October 6 has been very positive, with participants saying they enjoyed the sports activities and having a good old natter about their sporting past.

Work to identify more locations for the sessions is ongoing and individuals and groups with ideas for new locations should also contact Katie.

Strathmore Cricket Club and Strathmore Community Rugby Trust are both committed to using their sports to enhance people’s lives and enjoy a growing track reputation for the successful delivery of community programmes including multi-sports camps, autism-friendly rugby for primary pupils, walking sports and all-ability cricket and rugby.

The Strathmore Cricket Club spokesperson added: “Delivering these sessions provides both our organisations with an opportunity to reach more people in our communities and hopefully bring something new and positive to their lives.

“In addition to its own direct benefit, this project will support our existing programmes by attracting more participants to walking sports, Lochside Connections and other initiatives. It’s also providing some of our young coaches with an opportunity to extend their experience and develop new skills.

“We’re very grateful for the project funding from the Angus Communities Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund and Tayside & Fife Regional Sporting Partnership’s Sport & Physical Activity Fund without which we wouldn’t have been able to start this so soon.”

Stuart Gray, Chair of Strathmore Community Rugby Trust, said: “We’re delighted to have been asked to work together on this project as it supports the trust’s mission to increase public participation in sport in the Forfar, Kirriemuir and Brechin areas in order to benefit community health and wellbeing.”

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