Across Scotland the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is bringing many changes to our communities, including the way we work.
Amidst the uncertainty and growing concern for the wellbeing of people in our communities, sporting organisations are finding ways to adapt quickly to continue catering for people in need.
Sporting Memories is one of the sporting organisations that has reacted quickly to continue offering a much-needed service. Working mainly with older people, Sporting Memories reconnects isolated older people from across Scotland through sports reminiscence, inclusive physical activity and intergenerational activities.
With physical gatherings put on hold, and motivated by the need to stay connected, Sporting Memories has created the campaign #TalkAboutSport to continue conversations and help people relive positive sporting memories from the comfort of home.
The #TalkAboutSport campaign contains many free online resources and tools including weekly physical activity exercises as well as the recently revamped digital version of the weekly Sporting Pink, a reminiscence newspaper that allows for one-to-one conversations in person or over the phone.
Chris Wilkins, Sporting Memories co-founder and director, said: “At the heart of our work is bringing people physically together on a weekly basis.
"We have seen improvements in mental and physical wellbeing, feelings of loneliness decline and participants becoming reconnected with wider social, sporting and health networks in their communities.
“As these sessions can’t happen just now, we have needed to adapt how we deliver to and support not only our members but - potentially - a much wider community of isolated older sports fans.
"Our campaign #TalkAboutSport reflects our regular weekly clubs where we use the hook of talking about sport to draw older sports fans into a programme of activities that includes physical activity.
“In the context of this crisis we are using #TalkAboutSport to also encourage isolated older people to keep active and to exercise in their homes.
"It could become so easy for people to withdraw from exercise when isolated and we recognise that, like conversation, it is vital to help maintain physical and mental wellbeing.”
What other work has been going on?
The Sporting Memories-trained volunteer facilitators have also turned physical weekly clubs into online virtual clubs, introducing a new digital resource to members who are able to use online video conference software with the help of ‘how to guides’.
With many older people relying on landlines as a link to the outside world, a video has also been created for people looking to reminisce about sport over the phone with friends or family.
Alongside our partners, SAMH, sportscotland will be highlighting the benefits of physical activity to support mental health throughout this time.
You can use the #WeAreHere to join the conversation about links between physical activity and mental health and to reassure your members and local community of the benefits of staying active.
Find out more
- Visit the Sporting Memories website to learn more about #TalkAboutSport
- Sign up to the weekly digital Sporting Pink publication
- Follow #TalkAboutSport on social media
- Read more on the support available to club and community sport organisations
- Download the We're Here logo.