Talk About Sport Creative Breaks
A story by Sporting Memories Scotland
Talk About Sport Creative Breaks provided trips and activities across the year for unpaid carers and cared-for people over 50 to enjoy reminiscing together at trips to sporting venues. The trips will provide increased connections, improve relationships, and respite from the usual routine.
What Talk About Sport Creative Breaks did
We took the Kirkcaldy Sporting Memories club to Murrayfield for a stadium and museum tour. 8 members attended, including two couples where the husband has dementia, along with 3 volunteers. The trip was supported by a staff member and a volunteer from Kirkcaldy Rugby Club. It was a golfing summer! We visited the home of golf St Andrews and the British Golf Museum and were given a special tour by museum staff and had a special golf themed sporting memories session in the reading room. The members and volunteers were then treated to a lunch in the museum restaurant, which was made more special by the 90th birthday celebrations of one of our longest serving members.
14 members attended including one couple where the husband has dementia. The trip was supported by one staff member and 3 volunteers. The trip was a full day meaning that carers had that time to themselves, many catching up with family or friends.
We visited Dunnikier Golf Club to play an adapted, inclusive version of the sport. Clubs visited the course 4 times and each time received refreshments afterwards. All members from each club took part, 12 in total. Each of our Fife clubs hosted a summer sports day, which included inclusive games for all members, volunteers, and carers to enjoy. We used the funds to buy games equipment, medals, and refreshments. Everyone embraced the spirit of the event and joined in even the families!
We visited the home of Dunfermline FC for a special session and the group were joined by a former player and STAND. We have seen how much our beneficiaries enjoy a break away from their routine, experiencing something new. It strengthens the connection to their clubs where they feel a sense of belonging.
For carers our activities, if not attending themselves, have provided much needed respite from their caring role. It has allowed them to spend time doing activities they struggle to do with their loved ones present. This was valued by the carers and the fact they knew their loved one was safe and enjoying themselves provided peace of mind enhancing their respite time.
What Sporting Memories Scotland has learned
Involving families in our activities has been a great experience for us, as it helps everyone feel included and they can all understand and appreciate the benefits that their loved one is getting from being at Sporting Memories. Seeing everyone having fun together was really inspiring and it showed that what we do can cross generations and be inclusive. We will use this learning to plan similar activities in the future and shout about the impacts across our networks.
We learned that our members are very content at their weekly Sporting Memories club and enjoy the format and familiarity it brings. The routine is great for members and carers as everyone knows what to expect. Trips and excursions are brilliant and offer a different dynamic and layer of support, but our core offering is equally as impactful. The community partners we have linked with ensure we are there for those older people and their carers when they need us and they don't ask for much other than what we already do!
This leads on to the final point of how our trips are planned and budgeted for. It's because of our standing in the community that we have these great partnerships and people are very happy to provide us with access to free or discounted venues or transport options. Our volunteers are always happy to go the extra mile and pull together when needed and often activities and events can be put on with minimal cost and maximum impact. This allowed us with this project to do more than expected such as the sports days which engaged various family members connected to our Club participants.
How Sporting Memories Scotland has benefitted from the funding
The funding has helped us to think outside the box and create events and activities that we wouldn't usually do. Inspired by our members’ interests, passions, and enthusiasm we have cemented Summer Sports Days in our calendar of events and brought together families and communities that wouldn't otherwise have an opportunity to enjoy time with older people. https://www.sportingmemories.uk/news/news/sporting-memories-summer-of-sport-in-scotland/ We have cemented the positive relationships that we have between our members, volunteers and their families and this cannot be underplayed. Our volunteers have gained new skills in event planning and hosting, as well as being fantastic ambassadors for Sporting Memories. They have been proactive in reaching out to the local community for support and encouraging more older people to join us. We now have great connections with places like Dunnikier Golf Club, Dunfermline Football Club, St Andrews Golf Museum and Murrayfield so we know that if we ever wanted to return we would be welcomed with open arms. What we do is driven by our members, so watch this space for what we get up to in 2024!
25 unpaid carers will report increased access to alternative opportunities for respite and access to activities to improve the relationship with the cared-for person.
This year we have created lots of opportunities for our Fife Sporting Memories clubs members, volunteers and carers to get involved in something away from the usual routine. We listened to what our members wanted and based on their suggestions we organised several outings, both across Fife and in Edinburgh. On each occasion, at least two carers joined the outing as they wanted to experience something new and different. They also saw it as an opportunity to do an activity with their loved one that they wouldn't normally get the opportunity to do. They had peace of mind that Sporting Memories would look after them. In Dunfermline, our members invited a family member along to take part in the special summer sports day. It was lovely to see everyone taking part together and having fun. This is something that we will now do every year. For those carers who had respite, the small break away supported their mental well-being which strengthened the relationship with their loved one.
Dunfermline Sporting Memories Club. This club began in the summer of 2022 and now has a steady membership of around 17 participants. Many of them require additional support as they have long term conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's and because of this we have a close relationship with the families and carers. It's important to them that their loved ones enjoy Sporting Memories, and that they benefit from the activities that we offer. One of our volunteers decided to introduce more structured exercise to the weekly session, as he wanted to build people's confidence in their strength and balance and improve their abilities to do tasks independently. It was mainly ad hoc exercises before but now there was a focus. As a result of this, many members have noticed a difference in their physical wellbeing and some mentioned a sports day event. It was an opportunity to see what they could do but in a fun, 'competitive' environment. In the Summer we hosted the first Fife Sporting Memories Summer Sports Day at all our Fife Sporting Memories clubs and invited all members and their families/carers to take part. At the Dunfermline club at Abbey view Bowling Club it was a full morning of activities on the indoor green, facilitated by the Sporting Memories volunteers and bowling club staff (who were a great help). We played games like beat the goalie, boccia, bean bag target shooting as teams rotated around each activity. Similar activities were carried out at our Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes clubs. What we saw was members, volunteers, families/carers, and the bowling club come together for an event that celebrated older people being active no matter what their age, stage or ability. Families felt connected, they had fun and it was something they could share and talk about beyond the day. We took lots of photos and it will be remembered for a long time. And it's because of this amazing feedback that it will now become an annual event where the wider Sporting Memories family comes together and has something special to look forward to. It creates a space beyond the usual routine and memories to capture together. Janet (Sporting Memories volunteer) - "What a brilliant day! To see people give things a go, have fun, and do it with the people they know and love it special." Linda Whyte (Family Member) - "I never thought I'd be able to do anything like this with my dad again so it was great. Thanks to Sporting Memories for making it happen for us."
25 unpaid carers will report increased social networks and friendships through meeting other unpaid carers and sharing experiences and learning through attending Sporting Memories trips.
We organised with input from volunteers and members two trips - one to Murrayfield and to St Andrews, the home of golf. These trips reflected the interests of our members and the venues held special memories for a lot of people, especially St Andrews. Each had the support of Kirkcaldy Rugby Club as they sourced transport and one of their volunteers, Stuart who is also a carer for one of our members, drove the minibus. Each trip was almost a full day, including travel, tours, activities and lunch which meant that for the carers who didn't attend they had time to themselves, and they could do what they needed to do. And they knew that their loved ones would be well looked after, they were in familiar company. It allowed the carers to catch up socially with family and friends. For the carers who did attend, it gave them the opportunity to see how their loved ones benefit from their club and could spend time with other carers and make connections.
Jock is a past president of Kirkcaldy Rugby Club and rugby administrator for Midlands rugby. Jock is a font of sporting knowledge and a tremendous contributor to the Kirkcaldy Sporting Memories club however, his mobility and general increasing frailty limits what he is capable of doing. His wife normally drops Jock off which leaves her time to go to a pottery class. Jock was keen to go on the Murrayfield trip and with the help of his son-in-law Stuart (who also looks after Jock) we were able to make that happen, still enabling his wife to go to her pottery class. Stuart was our minibus driver and having him on hand meant he was able to assist the volunteers. And coupled with the additional help of Murrayfield staff, who were able to source a wheelchair, we were able to give Jock and his family a memorable experience. Jock’s wife, “I know Jock is in safe hands at his Sporting Memories club and it gives me valuable time to do one of my passions, pottery. With him being away the full day at Murrayfield it allowed me to go to my pottery class and meet with an old friend for lunch. It was a good day for both of us.” Stuart, “I enjoyed the trip to Murrayfield and meeting the other members, volunteers, and carers. We were well looked after, and it was great to see my father-in-law return to a place he loves. The trip helped me spend valuable time with him and hopefully it’s something we can do again.”
25 unpaid carers and 25 cared-for people will report increased mental well-being by the end of the 12 months through going on trips and attending a Sporting Memories club to discuss before and afterwards.
Each of our excursions and events has received excellent feedback from everyone involved - members, volunteers, families/carers, and the venues who have hosted them. Everything we have done has been in discussion with each Sporting Memories club, about where they'd like to go and what they'd like to experience. We believe our members should feel empowered to make decisions about their own club and what will help their well being and give them memories to talk about with their families. We have spoken with members, volunteers and carers about their experience and taken their feedback on board. Many reported feeling 'more connected' to their fellow members because they've experienced different activities together, and every member reported that they looked forward to their weekly club as it gave them 'more confidence' and a space to talk about something they love with like minded people.
Carrying on the story of Jock from Kirkcaldy, he was telling Murrayfield staff that he used to be the administrator for Midland rugby and how they had won the Inter-district cup. To make his day the Murrayfield staff were able to locate the actual cup which they told him was going to be refurbished to be used as the trophy for a new inter district competition. We could see that Jock was as pleased as punch. Jock, “I couldn’t believe it when they brought the cup out, it felt like a special moment.” Another member, Reid also joined us for our Murrayfield trip and played Park Golf during the summer. Reid is living with dementia and is now in a care home. His wife Irene up until late summer brought Reid to our Kirkcaldy club and left him, enabling her to spend time on her own which was invaluable as Reid was very demanding of her time. As an ex professional footballer Reid was very active and particularly enjoyed the physical activity aspects of our work. He was able to enjoy the visit to Murrayfield and seeing around the stadium. He also liked being out in the fresh air a participating in Park Golf with the other members. One of the last activities he was able to do prior to going into care was taking part in our summer sports day at the rugby club where members took part in many different fun indoor games. Irene, “He would come home from his activities with a big grin so I knew he was having fun. It helped me knowing he was enjoying himself, I could relax and enjoy the time that I had to myself. Any extra time I had for me was appreciated and I could do things like sit for a coffee and read a book which I don’t usually do.” A carer who supports a gentleman to attend our Kirkcaldy club told the group the week after our sports day that if he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes he would never have believed we could have done what we did with the group of people we have attending each week. That feedback gave the volunteers and staff a real lift and just reaffirmed that the weekly service we provide at our clubs really does make a difference.