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Big Lottery Fund pledges £500k to sport and loneliness foundation

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Sporting Memories – the charitable foundation which uses sport and social activities to tackle dementia, depression and loneliness – has been granted £483,373 (US$699,791, €644,770) to expand its network of volunteers.

The Big Lottery Fund grant will go towards training volunteers in London, Bristol and the South West, Greater Manchester, and Yorkshire to establish 64 weekly groups over the next two years in partnership with sports clubs, libraries, housing associations, universities and third sector organisations.

Funding will also create four full-time regional project officer posts who will provide training for the volunteers.

The foundation has worked with a number of organisations across the UK to deliver programmes for the elderly “using the power of reminiscing and storytelling”. It has developed a number of specialist materials based around imagery of sporting legends as well as audio and video.

Sporting Memories has partnered with the Football Association (FA) and National Museum of Football to create pictures of old players, the stadium and transportation which evoke memories of England’s World Cup win in 1966.

The Saturday night Sporting Pink, a retro publication for the sports news and results, is being published complete with Spot the Ball competitions.

Co-founder and director, Tony Jameson-Allen, told Sports Management that Sporting Memories was working with professional football teams Everton, Southampton, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Leyton Orient to develop region-specific imagery. It is also putting packages together on the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

“Many of us have powerful memories from sport, whether it’s watching the World Cup with the local community coming together, singing, chanting, or being at a memorable Centre Court match at Wimbledon,” he added. “There’s something about the communal and shared activity that creates powerful, positive memories.”

According to data from Sporting Memories, 51 per cent of all over-75 year-olds in England live alone, while loneliness is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day in terms of risk factors for an early death, as well as being worse than obesity and physical activity.

Sports stars such as Sir Steve Redgrave, Nico Rosberg, Katherine Grainger, David Weir and Chris Kamara are supporters of the foundation, providing their own favourite memories.

“Sporting Memories work is helping to bridge the generational gap by bringing people together to share their memories and experiences of playing and watching sport, while improving their own physical and mental wellbeing,” added sports minister Tracey Crouch.

Sporting Memories works in partnership with the Premier League, Football League, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Rugby Football League (RFL).

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Sporting Memories – the charitable foundation which uses sport and social activities to tackle dementia, depression and loneliness – has been granted £483,373 (US$699,791, €644,770) to expand its network of volunteers.
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The foundation uses iconic imagery, video and audio to tackle loneliness and dementia / Sporting Memories Network