MEMORIES of past sporting experiences are being used in a ground-breaking pilot project in York to help people with dementia.
The Sporting Memories initiative has been launched as part of national Dementia Awareness Week, and aims to help people recall past sporting experiences and take part in organised and supported activity if they wish.
Reminiscence workshops take place in other areas, but York is the first to use memories as an introduction into physical activity in England.
The project will be rolled out at three settings in the city – council-run Windsor House care home which supports about 30 people with dementia, Acomb Explore Library Learning Centre, and York and District Indoor Bowls Club.
They are signed up to take part in the project which is a partnership between City of York Council’s Sport and Active Leisure team and the Sporting Memories Network, a not-for-profit social enterprise based in Topcliffe, established to promote the mental and physical wellbeing of older people through the use of sports-based reminiscence.
The venues were chosen as they are currently working towards becoming dementia-friendly and inclusive places for all the community.
Cllr Linsay Cunningham-Cross, cabinet member for health and community engagement, said: “This is an exciting project which will involve people with dementia but also older people who may be socially isolated or lonely.”
“Sporting Memories will encourage people to think back on their sporting experiences – favourite sports events, teams and moments for example – and gently lead them into games, physical activities or sports as they become ready. Taking part in stimulating activities can benefit both mind and body and so this project gives a rounded and holistic approach to improving health.”
Sporting Memories will consist of group or one to one tailored sessions where people are prompted to share their memories, start conversations and share the passion they have for their favourite sports.
The project will use guides and pictures and will be supported by families, carers and volunteers who want to take part.
It is hoped that the pilot project will be rolled out to other venues after the initial six months.