26 October 2020

Kent’s Sporting Memories Project has scooped two national industry awards. The project has won both the ‘Contribution to Wellbeing’ award and the overall ‘Winner of the Best Community Archive and Heritage Group’ in the 2020 Community Archives and Heritage Group (CAHG) awards.

Michael Romyn accepting the awards

Our congratulations to all staff, partners and volunteers involved, including Sporting Memories Project Coordinator Michael Romyn, who accepted the awards.

The project, which was established by Kent Sport, received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver the Sporting Memories project in the Folkestone and Hythe area. 

The ‘Contribution to Wellbeing’ award looks at projects or activities which show evidence of running activities that have beneficial impacts on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of individuals and communities.

The two-year project is being delivered in partnership with Sporting Memories and a number of key local partners, including CARM (Caring All together on Romney Marsh) and Kent Libraries, Registration and Archives.

Kent’s Sporting Memories aims to explore, preserve and promote the rich history of sport in east Kent through oral history and reminiscence sessions. By raising into focus people's memories and lived experiences of sport in the region, the project paints a fuller picture of east Kent's sporting past since 1945 – including some of its traditions, places, social practices, events and icons – and illuminates the ways in which this sporting and social landscape has changed over time.

Improving mental and physical wellbeing

The project has developed a series of reminiscence activities that improve the mental and physical well-being of older people, in particular those experiencing social isolation and loneliness and those living with dementia through tapping into their passion, knowledge and love of sport. It provides the opportunity for local people and communities to come together to discover, share and record sporting memories, stories and experiences from the 1960s to the present day and help to preserve Kent’s sporting history for generations to come.

Commenting on the winning project, the judges said: “We would like to congratulate everyone involved in the Kent’s Sporting Memories project. We were very impressed with the group’s use of the oral history interview process and how it had been used to give older, often vulnerable people, a sense of importance and purpose by giving people a chance to reflect upon their lives.

"The group themselves shared how the release of memory can work as a therapeutic process. As a result, wellbeing felt truly embedded into the project rather than it being just another outcome. The panel noted how everything felt very connected and the archive almost felt like the by-product of a wellbeing project rather than the other way around.

"The judges saw evidence of good training for volunteers at every point and the formation of useful partnerships to continue the legacy of the project.”

Would you like to volunteer for the project?

Whether you’re interested in oral history, local history, or historical research more generally; portrait photography; filmmaking; facilitating/supporting reminiscence sessions; or if you wish to share your sporting memories, the project team would love to hear from you.

Training will be provided for all volunteer roles and you can get in touch via the Kent Sporting Memories website

The awards, which celebrate the importance of community archives and heritage, are organised, judged and presented by the Community Archives and Heritage Group, a special interest section of the Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland), the main professional body representing archivists, records managers and archive conservators in Britain and Ireland.  2020 marks the ninth year of the awards.