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Free guide launched to harness power of sporting memories and dementia

Added: 17/06/2021

Sporting Heritage

A free guide on how to use the power of sport to unlock memories and play a part in reminiscence activities has been launched by Sporting Heritage CIC. Aimed at supporting organisations across the UK who work in the community with the elderly and those living with dementia and memory loss, the guide contains case studies, training, useful checklists and resources on how to launch an effective memories activity using sporting heritage.

With around 850,000 people in the UK suffering from dementia, a figure that is set to increase to 2 million by 2051 as an ageing population expands, this handbook aims to play a key role in improving the wellbeing of those living with dementia.

Leeds-based Sporting Heritage founding director, Dr. Justine Reilly said: “Sport has played a huge part in the lives of so many people.  It connects people with shared and personal experiences. Whether as a player, a spectator, viewer or listener, these sporting experiences form a set of memories that are powerful and can be recalled through using the relevant heritage materials as a trigger. Reminiscence is acknowledged as a positive intervention which can not only bring pleasure, but also help bring back memories and recall of past experiences and events with improvement in self-esteem and communication skills seen in participants.”

The guide has been compiled by Sporting Heritage UK’s Scotland Director, Dr Hugh Dan MacLennan and Football Memories founder Michael White, along with support from Stirling University Dementia Services Development Centre ( and input from organisations across the sporting heritage sector across the four nations.

Dr MacLennan adds: “Through our years of experience developing and hosting memories activities in Scotland, the power of sporting heritage is evident. The most effective activities put the person at the forefront, and not dementia.  However, it important to understand the impact dementia has on the individual. This handbook has been created with best practice, practical examples, and insight and we hope it will inspire and support others to create their own sporting memories activities.”

The free guide, in pdf format, is available via the Sporting Heritage website

Sporting Heritage

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