The Exeter Sporting Memories group supports older people living with dementia, depression and loneliness by engaging them in social activities and helping them to recall memories of watching or playing sport.
A partnership between Exeter City Community Trust, University of Exeter and the Sporting Memories Foundation the group was established in September 2017. Consisting of a core of ten to twelve people, who now meet regularly once a week, the group is a social space where participants share memorabilia, sporting knowledge and memories of sporting and life events. The project team have worked hard to reach men who may have limited opportunities to socialise and who may be challenged by physical or mental health problems. Through sharing memories and tapping into a passion for sport, the project offers a unique opportunity which many of the participants would not otherwise have access to.
I have been working with the team to conduct a formative and summative evaluation, consisting of three key strands:
- Strand one: Capturing the outcomes and impacts arising from the Sporting Memories Group via a set of face to face semi-structured interviews with participants and their significant others. The interviews have explored feelings about self (i.e. confidence, self-worth, resilience, well-being…), relationships with family and friends (i.e. satisfaction, stronger networks, reduced isolation…) and overall life satisfaction.
- Strand two: Investigating and developing resources to support scale-up. This work has involved desk research and interviews with key stakeholders and project leads, including Dr Ali Haggett, Sporting Memories Network and Exeter FC.
- Strand three: Telling the story of the work. The narratives developed will be used to help with Impact Case Studies as part of REF2021, in potential funding applications, in national awards which could help raise the profile of the work and via relevant websites and social media to recruit new networks and participants.
The work will complete in late 2018.