Using memories of sport to improve the well-being of people with mental health issues.
Sporting Memories Network (SMN) is a social enterprise that uses sport memories to help improve the mental and physical wellbeing of older people with dementia.
SMN was set up in November 2011 with the aim of tackling isolation among older people by using sport at the focus for reminiscence-based activities. It was set up by Tony Jameson-Allen and Chris Wilkins, who realised the common ground of sport could be an excellent aid for social care.
The network has developed specialised training and manuals for staff and volunteers as well as a website with more than 3,000 stories from sports stars, sports fans and group participants to help trigger memories and conversation.
In two and a half years SMN has established over 80 groups for older people with a further 75 planned for 2014/15 in sports clubs, libraries, care homes, NHS hospital wards and sheltered accommodation.
The SMN has trained and supported volunteers in more than 200 organisations and been backed by bodies such as the British Racing Drivers’ Club and the Professional Footballers' Association.
SMN was recently awarded Best National Dementia Friendly Initiative by Alzheimer's Society.