Talking Sport & Tackling Dementia

Published on: August 9th 2022

Edinburgh Leisure are tackling dementia, depression and loneliness through the power of talking sport!

Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland in partnership with Edinburgh Leisure are running a weekly club, supporting older adults to stay active, connected within their local community, and build amazing friendships through their common love of sport. 

Starting in mid-August 2022, the weekly, free drop-in sessions offer the perfect forum to reminisce about local sporting heroes, share stories about past playing days and show off your knowledge over a quiz or fun game.

Donna Mackey, Partnership Manager, SMFS, “We are really excited to launch our newest Sporting Memories partnership at the Royal Commonwealth Pool, a venue at the real heart of Edinburgh’s sporting heritage.  We believe there are lots of older adults in the area who have a passion for talking about sport and who will benefit from attending a weekly group with like-minded people.  The clubs are a great opportunity to build new friendships and become more active by taking part in some of our indoor games. We can’t wait to get started.”

Sam Scott, Health Development Officer (Dementia) at Edinburgh Leisure said: “These sessions were originally due to start in April 2020 but for obvious reasons, they had to be put on hold. However, Edinburgh Leisure’s partnership with Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland makes perfect sense, as does hosting these clubs at the Royal Commonwealth Pool, a building steeped in its own sporting history.  These clubs will support the work we are already doing working with people living with dementia through our Movement for Memories programme.

“Using the rich history and heritage of sport, the Sporting Memories clubs are open to older adults who enjoy reminiscing about their experiences of watching or playing it. We just want anyone, with a love of sport, to come along and refreshments are provided.”

The clubs are run by trained by Sporting Memories volunteers who use a wide range of Sporting Memories reminiscence resources developed specifically to help prompt conversation and discussion. There is always great fun and laughter, friendships are forged, and some remarkable sporting stories often emerge.

Sporting Memories has developed an innovative and engaging approach to tackling the challenges of our ageing society.  Their work focuses on:  reducing loneliness and isolation; getting older people physically active; and helping people to live well with dementia.

Edinburgh Leisure’s Active Communities team launched Movement for Memories in September 2018. This programme supports people living with dementia and their carers to become or remain physically active in Edinburgh. This work is supported with funding from the Life Changes Trust.  The Trust is funded by the Big Lottery.