New Stratford club explores sporting memories for those with dementia
REACHING out to the community has always been the aim for Stratford Sports Club and its latest scheme has been designed to bring people with cognitive issues together to reminisce about sport and enjoy physical activity.
The Sporting Memories Club is the first of its kind in the West Midlands and is organised by Anne Tubb. It is aimed at those with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive issues, as well as members of the community who are socially isolated or may have lost someone as a result of Covid-19.
With the help of a £6,000 grant from the Warwickshire Covid-19 Mental Wellbeing and Resilience Fund, the sports club has been able to offer these sessions for people with a passion for sport.
Anne told the Herald: “When Bess (Evans – director of operations) came on board we thought the Sporting Memories Club was the perfect opportunity for the sports club to reach out to the community – and that’s something we’re always keen to do.
“We decided to apply for a grant from Warwickshire County Council and this enabled us to enter into a partnership with the Sporting Memories Foundation and to start running the club.
“We focus on people with a passion for sport. Members can reminisce and talk about their experiences and we also talk about topical things. Our first theme was cricket, so we talked about famous players and so on.”
She added: “Because of the type of issues members have, their memory of past events is a lot clearer than the day-to-day happenings. So we have an hour of reminiscing, where we also do sport quizzes, and then we do an hour of physical activity like indoor curling, indoor hockey or seated exercise.
“The idea is to get that competitive element back into people’s lives because that’s what they miss. They still want to have a go at being competitive.”
The Sporting Memories Club, which had its first session on 8th November, is free to attend and runs every Monday from 10am to noon for 50 weeks, with a two-week break over Christmas. Tea, coffee and biscuits are also on offer.
“This club is a chance for people to talk with others and it’s all about trying to get more involved with the community,” said Anne. “We’ve now put on walking tennis, so if anyone who attends a session on a Monday and wants to stay afterwards, they can have a go at that.
“They can also have a go at the seated exercise class and gain some confidence. The carer does not have to stay, they can have coffee in the lounge or walk into town and come back later.”
Anne added: “People really seemed to enjoy the first session so we’re hoping more people start to attend. Hopefully we will get more members through word of mouth and the club is not just restricted to people in Stratford.
“If people have the means to get to us, anyone from Warwick, Leamington or further afield is welcome to attend.”
There are more than 120 Sporting Memories Clubs across Scotland, Wales and England. The supportive, welcoming and structured sessions they offer are proven to help build cognitive resilience for those living with dementia and other cognitive issues.
Anyone who wishes to attend the Sporting Memories Club should call Stratford Sports Club in advance on 01789 296629.