Sporting memories come to life in North Yorkshire

A charity that helps people recall their sporting memories to tackle loneliness, depression and dementia has received a gift of specialist equipment from a local manufacturer.

Sporting Memories Network uses the traditional idea of reminiscence activities – memory games – to bring like-minded people together to discuss their love of sport. It is founded by former psychiatric nurse Tony Jameson-Allen and business partner Chris Wilkins. It holds drop-in sessions at Northallerton library every Thursday between 11am and noon where anyone aged 50 plus is welcome to come along and share memories and memorabilia or play sport and enjoy refreshments with new friends.

Sports Memories
“This Network has been established to promote and develop the use of sporting memories to improve the well-being of older people and to help tackle dementia, depression and social isolation” said County Councillor Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health Integration.

“Whether it is rugby league, football, boxing or athletics, by using old photographs, newspaper articles and memorabilia, discussion can help once-isolated people forge new friendships.

“One of our Council priorities is to improve the quality of life for people with dementia, promote their independence and help them plan and maintain their social networks, as well as supporting their carers and I am delighted that these sessions are underway at Northallerton library.”
Sporting Memories Northallerton work is being boosted by a donation of a set of Bowlsparc equipment from Thirsk-based Factory Eleven, a business that delivers sporting participation events and equipment designed to develop the key fundamental skills across a number of sports. “We’re delighted to receive this eye-catching set of therapeutic bowling equipment” said Tony Jameson-Allen “and we will use it with the group to help break down barriers as well as rekindling an interest in playing sport as well. This is so important as it also regenerates social skills and tackles issues around poor physical fitness and obesity”.

Sporting Memories in Northallerton is being funded by NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (HRW CCG). Karen Bibbings, Clinical Development Lead for Dementia Services at HRW CCG said: “Activities such as these engage those experiencing dementia and their families and carers and support them to live well. On behalf of the CCG I am really keen to hear thoughts about local memory services to enable us to develop first class services for the future across Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby.”

The Sporting Memories Group meets at Northallerton Library on Thursdays, kick off 11am with the final whistle at noon.
For more information or to arrange to drop in please email or phone 01609 534812.
On Thursday 10 September there is an ‘Open Session’ event at the library at 11am where anyone is welcome to come and share sporting memories and bring along, or donate any memorabilia they may have.