Salford Sporting Memories

Sporting Memories

Sport has been part of the people Salford's lives for a very long time. Whether you are a supporter or a player, if you live in Salford, sport will have touched your life. This project, run by Salford Museum and Art Gallery, has supported older people in reconnecting with their sporting heritage through reminiscence and object handling.

Salford RugbySalford Sporting Memories is funded by Salford Clinical Commissioning Group’s Innovation Fund and The Booth Charities. It is a year-long project aiming to bring sport back into the lives of those that may have lost touch with their sporting heritage. Since autumn 2015, the project team have been working with older people in Salford living with dementia, depression or other mental health issues, or who may be experiencing loneliness or isolation, to introduce them back into healthy social and physical activity.

Participants, partner organisations and staff marked the project’s achievements at a lively celebration event on 19th July 2016 at Eccles RFC that included talks, tours, pies and a sports quiz.

In  partnership with the Sporting Memories Network, the project has delivered training to 34 staff and volunteers to support sporting reminiscence sessions with participants and groups in 15 venues across Salford, including care homes, day centres, sheltered housing schemes, buddy clubs and community centres.  Sessions have focused on national sporting icons, or famous events such as the 1966 World Cup, as well as local sports venues, teams and achievements. Images and handling objects from the collections at Salford Museum and Art Gallery continue to stimulate personal memories and stories relating to sport. Many of these are sensory, from the roar of the crowd in a stadium or the Grandstand theme tune, to the taste and smell of a half-time pie, and these sessions aim to bring out these memories.

Through this interaction, Salford Sporting Memories aims to continue to help prevent loneliness and social isolation among older people. Chris Sewards, Dementia Lead at Humphrey Booth Resource Centre, Swinton, a key project partner, says,

“Reminiscence and the solid ground of the past can boost the self-esteem, confidence and mood of people living with dementia. Sport is part of the fabric of everyday life, and the emotions associated with it, the `triumph and disaster’, are preserved and vivid until late into the dementia journey. For this reason, we are excited about how Sporting Memories can contribute to the maintenance of skills for as long as possible.”

Evidence suggests that maintaining mental and physical wellbeing, as well as independence, can go some way towards preventing cognitive decline. The project also continues to identify and develop existing and new opportunities for participants to access further healthy physical and social activities, from trying out walking football to attending one of the new Salford’s new Sporting Memories Groups, and start to embed them as part of a healthy and engaged lifestyle.

Come along and share your sporting memories at our new FREE Sporting Memories sessions at Swinton Library, which take place on the first Monday of each month from, 2-3pm. Check out the Libraries things to do section of our website for the next session.