It was all systems go for staff at Strood Sports Centre on Monday 10 October, when they opened the Sporting Memories Club. The Club is where older people can come together to talk about and remember sports, find friendships and have fun. Sporting Memories is a charity and social enterprise that uses the power of remembering and talking about sports and physical exercise to tackle dementia, depression and loneliness in older people.
Medway Council obtained £10,000 from Sport England to enable them to open the club, which will hold free sessions every Monday from 11am to 1pm.
The Club was opened by Councillor Howard Doe, Deputy Leader of Medway Council, with sports centre staff and Avante Care & Support staff present to witness the benefits and enjoyment of exercise for older people. At the same time, residents from Court Regis, Amherst Court, and Pilgrims View had the opportunity to play badminton, table tennis, short mat bowls, and other games, including a sporting quiz. Tea, coffee, and biscuits were provided throughout the morning to preserve everyone’s energy levels. Every attendee received a Sporting Memories Kitbag, which contained an exercise guide, an activity log book, a DVD with exercise videos and sporting reminiscence films; exercise equipment and a bag to store everything in.
Copies of ‘Sporting Pink’ news sheets were also included, containing historical sports news, including archive copies of articles on anti-apartheid protests when the South African team played Swansea. Pelé scored his 1,000th goal; Niki Lauda won his first World Championship; Mike Denness became England Cricket captain; Hugh Porter won the World Cycling Championship, along with many more sporting articles.
There will also be the opportunity for residents to use the adapted gym equipment, the beautifully heated pools and sauna in the future.
This facility will greatly benefit Avante Care & Support staff and residents with implementing Avante’s Philosophy of care, which aims to eliminate Loneliness, helplessness, and boredom.
There are over 130 Sporting memories Clubs in England, Scotland and Wales. Simon McLean, Care Operations Project Manager for Avante Care & Support, is exploring the possibility of finding Sporting Memories Clubs close to other Avante care homes.