Tackling dementia, depression and loneliness through the power of sport

Dunfermline volunteer Janet speaks about her experience at the club

It’s Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week and we’re celebrating this occasion by recognising some of the women who are involved with our clubs across the nation.

The week showcases women and girls’ projects happening across Scotland and the innovative partnerships that are helping widen access to sport – including our clubs!

We caught up with Janet Torley (bottom row, second from left) who joined our Dunfermline Group as a volunteer when it launched in February this year, to share her experiences of being part of a club for the past eight months.

“Meeting weekly with a bunch of men who talk all the time about football and other sports was not my initial idea of a fun activity!

“I am Janet Torley, aged 67 and found myself joining Sporting Memories as a would-be volunteer at the Dunfermline group. I was apprehensive as I know nothing at all about sport and barely follow it at all. Maybe the odd Olympic highlight every four years and that’s quite enough, but I was in need of ‘something’ to do to get out more and meet new people.

“After initial training where I met loads of lovely people online I found there was a place for me and it was good fun – even if it was mainly men talking football!

“Our club started in February 2022 and we meet weekly at Abbeyview Indoor Bowling Club; a perfect venue for us. The club built slowly with new members coming via word of mouth and recommendations from referring services.

“However, we don’t just sit around talking about the offside rule every week. We have regular seated physical exercise sessions that one of our other volunteers puts together.

“It’s just wonderful watching everyone trying their best and we are building up the ‘reps’ every week. Of course, I join in and benefit too from stretching, weight resistance and balance work. It’s especially gratifying when some our less able members complete the exercises and ask for a copy to take home to keep practicing.

“We do try and fit in a fun team activity each week such as indoor bowls or putting. We’ve even done some walking Rugby and Football - Now that was a laugh and a half!

“But the main thing is that the members and volunteers keep moving. Keeping the old brain cells active too is part of our mission with weekly quizzes ably prepared by another of our volunteers. I have to say it does get quite competitive but the members love it! We also encourage our members to bring along any memorabilia they might have tucked away and this is always a great talking point.

“Our members keep telling us that they love the club and you can quickly see that from our weekly register. Barring injury or illness our ‘team’ never let us down. The club has also taught me to never underestimate the abilities of the older generation - One of our frailest and quietest members has proven himself to be an absolute dead-eye accurate bowler and a top flight dominoes player and no-one knew as he rarely shares his sporting prowess.

“I never would have dreamt at the start of the year that I would enjoy being part of Sporting Memories so much. Yes, I am a volunteer, but I also now consider myself a member of a fun-filled sport daft group of enthusiastic older people who just continue to shine every week.”

Volunteers

We’re always on the lookout for volunteers to help run our clubs all across England, Scotland and Wales – find out more here.

Find a club

Want to know where your nearest Sporting Memories club is? Visit our find a club page to check our your local club here!

Our impact

Reducing Isolation

Bringing older people together to reduce isolation and loneliness

Mental Wellbeing

Supporting older people to improve their mental wellbeing

Physical Wellbeing

Getting older people active to live healthier lifestyles

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