Opportunities for older people to take part in sport 24 April 2021An article in today's Scotsman highlights the value of community sports for older people The Scotsman newspaper is campaigning with the Observatory for Sport in Scotland (OSS) to encourage a 'National Conversation on Sport’s Role in Society’. Brian Sloane from Age Scotland says: “We know older people have been the most heavily hit by Covid. Long-term health conditions will almost certainly rise.” He highlights the importance of devising a preventative model, including getting more older people to participate in sport and exercise. The article highlights the work of Sporting Memories in Scotland. The Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland brings older people together at over 40 Sporting Memories Clubs – using the power of talking about and remembering sport, as well as physical activity, to increase well-being. The charity has continued to offer this model even through lockdown. Sporting Memories has brought its physical activity sessions to its new online Clubs and has developed successful new resources. The KITbag service, developed with funding from the Scottish Power Foundation and used at home by older adults, provides physical equipment, practical guidance, self-evaluation and – importantly – weekly opportunities to stay in touch with Sporting Memories staff and volunteers. Thanks to the support of the Scottish Government Active Scotland Division, a further 500 KITbag packs are now reaching the wider community. Maurice Donohue, COO of the Sporting Memories Foundation Scotland, says: “We have adapted extremely quickly through lockdown to increase the ways in which we introduce physical exercise to isolated older people and have successfully reached out not only to adults who were existing Sporting Memories Club members, but also to those who are new to the support we provide. We are grateful for the support of The Scottish Power Foundation and the Scottish Government for our new at-home activities.” He continues: “What we have and continue to offer is the ideal platform for engaging older people to be active again, building that all-important confidence as part of an active pathway.” The Steps for Sporting Memories series of virtual walks has been inspiration for many to stay active, even at home. Maurice says: “As lockdown eases and we enter further into the recovery phase, the opportunities we provide will remain and increase. We strongly support the further and wider development of a preventative model to increase the number of older people engaging in exercise. And importantly, for this to be easily accessible to all.” The article, 'Call to increase sport for the elderly to improve mental health', is available in the printed edition.